18 DAVAO CITY MOUNTAIN RESORTS TOLD TO GET BIZ PERMIT
Davao City Councilor Conrado Baluran, chairperson of the Committee on Transportation and Communication, explains Tuesday the conditions set by the city to allow the reopening of the shuttered inland resorts in Marilog, Davao City. (PNA photo by Lilian C Mellejor)
DAVAO CITY -- The 18 inland resorts that the local government shut down last year may reopen in time for summer if their owners have already complied with local laws and regulations.
This was according to Councilor Conrado Baluran, chairperson of the City Council’s committee on transportation and communication, as he sees an influx of summer vacationers in the city's thriving tourism destinations in the upland areas.
Baluran advised the resort owners to work with concerned government agencies so that they may be allowed to reopen and rehire their former employees.
"The owners will have to talk with the agencies and follow up the requirements so that they would be given business permits. They have to commit that they will comply with the conditions because we have to legitimize their existence," he said in an interview Tuesday.
The local government closed down the 18 resorts -- 15 in Marilog and three in Paquibato districts -- because most of them are located in declared national parks, watershed reserves, and recharge areas for water. Others were found to be encroaching on tribal lands.
While the city government is keen on allowing the resorts to operate again to stimulate economic activity in the area, Baluran said measures must be implemented to ensure the protection of conservation zones that stretch over 62,469 hectares of land.
Baluran said the conservation zones are meant to preserve existing cultural settlements, improve and maintain waterway easements and reforestation development projects, and protect biodiversity.
City regulations allow resort developers only a maximum of 2 percent concrete construction but bar them from clearing trees or altering slopes.
Moreover, the councilor said, resort owners within Marilog's ancestral domain, which belongs to the Matigsalog tribe, must also secure a Free Prior Informed Consent.
A task force was created to conduct an investigation last year after Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre raised concerns that aside from having no business permit, some of the resorts are located outside the tourism development zone and some are within identified landslide-prone areas.
Alejandre noted that many resorts have thriving businesses, yet the city has not earned from their operations. (PNA)