By Daisy Jane Apit
Davao Today intern
DAVAO CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has asked private landowners in the resort island of Samal to yield the road right of way to a planned massive construction of road network, to buoy up the island’s importance as the “key site” in regional tourism.
DOT XI Tourism Operations Officer, Eden David, told a press conference at Philippine Information Agency, that government would appeal to private landowners to give way to the road projects to open up the island to more tourism opportunities, including livelihood to local villagers.
“Kasi kung wala ang road right of way mahihirapan po ang gobyerno na gumawa ng daan (It’s difficult for government to build roads without the road right of way),” David said.
She said 140 roads are proposed to be built and that their only request to the private sector is that they provide the road right of way for the success of the project.
“Dati-rati hindi madedevelop iyan ng national government dahil ang local roads ang may hawak ay munisipyo, city and even ang barangay. Dito po pumapasok ang national convergence. Binigyan tayo ngayon ng pondo (The road network was not developed before because local roads were handled by the municipal, city or even the barangay authorities. Here the national convergence would enter),” David said.
The DOT has tapped the Department of Public Works and Highways in a convergence of programs to push further interest in Samal tourism through road priority infrastructure program and livelihood for the local population.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development would be assigned to develop a livelihood program, using a planned construction of three centralized jetties or ports to develop a transport group of tricycle drivers.
“DSWD is part of the program. Mayroong mga destinations na hindi private sectors ang nag-ooperate na community based. Gagawa tayo ng programa para matulungan ang mga communities (There are community-based destinations that are not operated by the private sector). So now we are also looking at a DSWD-DOT convergence,” said David.
“It is not only about one office. A lot of offices are really involved. The congressional office and other tourism stakeholders are also helping in the road building programs.” David said.
She said the national convergence among agencies was intended to stir domestic tourism not only in Samal but in the rest of the Davao Region.
The region is composed of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and the newly formed Davao Occidental. The Island Garden City of Samal is part of Davao del Norte.
Last year DOT have said that there is an increase in the tourism trend with a recorded 299,000 visitors in the whole year while 54,000 over summer in only the hotel accomodations. (davaotoday.com)