Board Member Al-Nashier Ibba’s resolution to aid Balabac’s tourism industry was approved by the Provincial Board during Tuesday’s regular session.
The measure calls for the establishment of a Tourist Information Center in the island municipality and the strict enforcement of the wildlife act to restrain visitors from interacting with them, particularly the sea turtles.
“Malaking bagay ito sa tourism ng Balabac yung Tourist Information Center nung TIEZA, kasi yung ibang bayan dito sa amin, nabigyan sila ng TIEZA tapos hindi naman sila masyadong tourist destination unlike Balabac, number one tourist destination dito sa Southern Palawan,” Ibba added.
Along with requesting the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to install a Tourist Information Center within Balabac, Ibba also requested that restrictions be placed to discourage tourists from interacting with the wildlife, particularly the turtles found on Onok Island.
When asked about the resolution restricting interaction with the local wildlife of Balabac, Ibba mentioned that it would prevent further disturbance from people traveling to the island.
“Mixed na yan, more on locals. Yung mga turista natin coming from outside of the Philippines, aware sila doon because meron tayong mga batas. Pero alam mo naman ang ating kababayang Pinoy, walang pakialam,” Ibba also noted that the turtles were already used to the crowds. “Talagang hindi natatakot sa tao [yung mga turtles], tapos yun na nga marami. Nakikita nila.”
Ibba hoped that these actions would come to fruition within the year, as he reported that more and more tourists have been visiting the island. “Marami nang tourist daily. Maliban sa local, may mga international din. May nakita ako galing sa Japan, more on Asian tourists.”
“Yung Balabac pa naman yan, umuusbong. Kailangan na tulungan natin in terms of tourism. Unang-una kailangan nila ng investor sa accommodation, mga facilities,” he added. He said that further improvements in local tourism will aid not only Balabac but Southern Palawan as well.