Board: Return control of MalapascuaCebu Daily News
The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) is leaning in favor of the request of Daanbantayan town to regain control of developing Malapascua Island, a major tourist destination known for its dive sites and beaches.
The PB on Monday approved the report of Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale who acted on the request of the north Cebu town, whose mayor Ma. Luisa Loot is at odds with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Magpale, who heads the PB tourism committee, took note of the desire of the municipality to head the lead agency that will manage and administer the Malapascua Island Ecotourism Development Plan (MIEDP).
But the task cannot be reassigned to Daanbantayan, she said, because of a Memorandum of Agreement which spelled out the roles of different agencies.
Magpale said the 2003 MOA, which originally placed Daanbantayan municipality as the lead agency in the management of Malapascua’s development plan, had to be amended again.
In May 2006, the MOA was amended placing the Province of Cebu led by Governor Garcia as the lead agency.
The MOA, whose signatories are the municipality, the Capitol and some national government agencies, “still remains in full force and effect,” the committee report said.
Magpale said her committee “therefore finds it imperative that further amendment be made on the MOA to to effect or accommodate the desire of the Municipality of Daanbantayan, subject to the consent and approval of all signatories/parties concerned.”
Magpale recommended that Daanbantayan make formal representation with all the parties to the MOA about its request.
Last May 15, the municipal council of Daanbantayan passed a resolution asking the PB to reassign it as the lead agency for Malapascua’s development, a request Mayor Loot followed up.
Other agencies that are parties of the MOA are the regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism, Department of Interior and Local Government, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The MOA defining their roles and placing Daanbantayan in charge was signed in August 2003 during the term of then governor Pablo Garcia, father of the governor.
It was amended in May 2006 during the governor’s term to transfer the lead role to the Capitol. The reason cited was limited manpower, resources and capabilities of the municipal government to perform the tasks required.