Monday, May 6, 2013

Government Agencies Team Up with ABSCBN, Ateneo for Eco-Tourism Program

(L-R) Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, ABSCBN President Charo Con-
cio, ABSCBN Foundation Managing Director Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary
Ramon Paje, and Acting Ateneo VP Evangeline Bautista formally kicked off
the Bantay Kalikasan Green Initiative. Rommel Natanauan
The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with media conglomerate ABS-CBN and premier academic institution Ateneo De Manila University to launch Bantay Kalikasan’s Green Initiative.

A joint program involving ABS-CBN Foundation's Bantay Kalikasan, the government, media, and academe, Green Initiative responds to protect and nourish the country’s natural biodiversity, while alleviating poverty and enriching the lives of people through various livelihood projects. 

Under the MOA, each signatory is to implement strategies that are geared towards improving the quality of life in the grassroots. The DOT, for its part, is tasked to facilitate the investment of tourism infrastructure and complementary facilities through convergence projects with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), paving the way for more tourism opportunities. DOT will also take the lead in promoting the projects as prime tourist destinations in the country. 

On the other hand, ABS-CBN commits to manage and ensure the media exposure of projects, with the support of Miss Earth Foundation in public relations and marketing aspects. 

“My conviction is that we would not only alleviate poverty but also drive in a new paradigm of thinking, one that benefits the environment and the community,” ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. Managing Director Gina Lopez said. 

The DOT has been a long-time partner of the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan in promoting and positioning the Philippines as a world-class ecotourism destination. Some of the joint projects in the past are the ecotourism sites of Sibuyan and Cobrador Islands in Romblon, Puerto Princesa City and Brooke’s Point in Palawan, and La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City. 

“The complex issues of climate change and biodiversity are some of the biggest challenges facing society today. Going green is no longer just a fad, no longer for a small slice of the population. Going green has rather become a necessity and lifestyle in which we all must participate for the welfare of future generations. The Philippines is uniquely positioned to lead the way, and the DOT remains supportive of programs such as the Green Initiative. With the protection of the environment as one of the major thrusts of tourism, our role in DOT is to generate positive awareness and create demand for these ecotourism destinations. Through convergence programs with partner agencies and private sector, we are working very hard so that infrastructure is built to ensure seamless travel and that sustainable practices are implemented in these areas,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. shared.

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