TIEZA to fund P15-M Bukidnon tourism eco-cultural park

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/24 October) The Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has earmarked P15 million for the establishment and development of the Bukidnon tourism eco-cultural park in 2013, Laila D. Marte, officer in charge of the Provincial Tourism Office told the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan Wednesday.

TIEZA has asked the PTO to submit proposed design and other requirements for the release of the funds dubbed as financial assistance to make Malaybalay truly the “Summer Capital of Bukidnon”.

The eco tourism park will be built in a three-hectare area within the 500-hectare Bukidnon Tree Park, carved out of the 38,848 hectare- Industrial Forest Management Agreement with the Bukidnon Forest Inc.

TIEZA recommended the development of some amenities such as a multi-purpose hall, a log-cabin themed dormitory, swimming pool, bird watching tower, rockwall, tribal houses, and public comfort rooms.

But provincial board members suggested further consultation especially with the seven tribes of Bukidnon for the cultural aspect of the project.

Board member Clive Quino cited the need to identify environmental impact and other related matters. Board member Datu Maida Pandian, Lumad mandatory representative said there is a need to seek the IPs’ say on it.

“It should be made nearer to the identity of the IP in Bukidnon,” he added.

The PTO was tasked to prepare the requirements in order to avail of the TIEZA funding.

Marte told MindaNews the TIEZA team led by Jeffrey Mallari, TIEZA corporate planning officer, arrived on October 17 to conduct inspection.

She added that the provincial government wrote TIEZA chief Mark Lapid to request funding for the project in June 2012.

She said the facilities will be donated to and will be managed by the provincial government. But she cited that the provincial government needed to shell out non-cash counterpart, such as roads to the area.

Earlier, Maite Abellanosa, chair of the tourism sector of the newly-formed Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they are interested if the provincial government is tapping the private sector for a partnership on the project.

She cited in an earlier interview that this is one of the things that the Provincial Tourism Office should do to promote tourism in the province.

Aside from the eco-tourism park, Marte said TIEZA also agreed to fund the P2.5 million new Provincial Tourism Office. Marte said the PTO, which is located in front the Kaamulan Open Theater down at the Kaamulan View Park, should be relocated at a more accessible cite at the Capitol Grounds. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)