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Tourism Champions Challenge’ LGU winners to receive P255M grant

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Tourism Champions Challenge� LGU winners to receive P255M grant
This April 15, 2024 photo shows President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivering a speech during the Tourism Champions Challenge awarding ceremony.
DOT / Released

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday announced that fifteen local government units are set to receive a combined amount of P255 million as part of the Department of Tourism’s flagship program, the Tourism Champions Challenge (TCC).

Marcos announced an additional project funding of P75 million, raising the total TCC grant for 15 winners from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao from P180 million to P255 million.

The P180 will come from the DOT in collaboration with its infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

TCC, conceptualized by DOT and TIEZA, is a nationwide campaign that incentivizes tourism development among cities and municipalities launched last year. 

More than 1,000 member-mayors of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and over 100 city mayors were invited to propose tourism projects for the economic development across regions as part of the challenge.

Last October, the DOT bared the shortlisted 15 LGUs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, which will receive funds for tourism projects for the winning tourism proposals they submitted.

During the TCC awarding ceremony, Marcos congratulated the DOT for “tapping various stakeholders for innovative ideas that will energize and enhance tourism development in our country.”

“For indeed, the best way to draw crowds is to crowdsourcing ideas and how to bring them in. The response to this Tourism Champions Challenge, I have been told, has been nothing less than overwhelming,” the president said Monday.

“It is also heartwarming to note that these are not mere proposals anymore, but they are existing projects of proven value and that have already shown unqualified success. This is the way tourism should be developed in our view, like economic growth, not relying on trickle-down, but built from the ground up,” he added.

“The national government will build more infrastructure, implement tourism-friendly policies, and arouse interest from global audiences,” Marcos vowed.

Following the launch of the TCC in early 2023, the DOT received almost 100 proposals from 90 LGUs across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. These submissions were made between March and May of the same year and underwent an evaluation process facilitated by the 16 DOT Regional Offices and the TCC Committee.

The evaluation later registered 41 compliant LGUs, before they finally chose five winners from each region.

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco considers the culmination of the TCC “a pivotal moment towards the journey of tourism transformation.”

“Pursuant to our President's vision for our nation, the Tourism Champions Challenge was launched and designed to unleash the potential of cities and municipalities across the Philippines, by inviting them to propose innovative tourism infrastructure projects that aim to foster sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience in tourism development, enhancing our local destinations and communities and most importantly, providing added economic opportunity for our communities nationwide,” Frasco said.

She explained that the flagship program seeks to empower LGUs and allow them to conceptualize and develop projects that “create new tourism opportunities, create accessibility and showcase our unique Filipino heritage.”

The tourism chief said that the TCC has five phases including the call for proposals, project implementation and ending with the inauguration.

“The rigorous selection process, upheld by standards of integrity and impartiality involves multiple stages of evaluation, from capacity building, through the expert advice of our panel from across the cross-section of the tourism industry, to proposal assessment,” Frasco said.

“This process ensured that the most promising and impactful tourism initiatives were selected for immediate implementation,” she added.

Recipient LGUs and TCC-funded projects

 The following winning LGUs and projects will receive funding from the TCC:

Luzon

  • 1st place: Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya’s Ambaguio Skyport - The 1st Local Paragliding "Airport Terminal;" in the Philippines

Envisioned to be a tourism hub and paragliding headquarters, the Ambaguio Skyport aims to empower the local Indigenous communities, namely the ‘Kalanguyas and Ayangan’ tribes, and to establish Ambaguio to be the benchmark for grassroots athletes and safe air sports tourism in the Philippines.

  • 2nd place: Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro’s Pinagpalang Lagusan sa Bakawanan": A Mangrove Forest Park Development

An aspiring mangrove conservation champion, Sablayan, through its project, aims to preserve a vibrant 12-hectare biodiversity by establishing the 925-meter mangrove boardwalk using eco-friendly materials for sustainability, and revitalizing its tourism destinations.

  • 3rd place: Bolinao, Pangasinan’s Legacy of the Sea Project: A Silaki Island Community Based Tourism Project

A community-based tourism project set in the idyllic fishing village of Silaki Island, situated in Bolinao the renowned “Giant Clam Capital of the Philippines”. It aims to create an iconic tourism destination by harnessing the unique charm of the fishing village experience that respects the local community and preserves the environment.

  • 4th place: San Jose, Romblon’s Establishment of Eco-Tourism Park

San Jose aims to unlock the Carabao Island’s tourism potential while protecting its environment and unique local communities. The project aims to develop an ecotourism park by establishing a cultural and heritage center that will promote the culture and traditions of Ati people and the island’s beaches and natural wonders.

  • 5th place: Socorro, Oriental Mindoro’s Naujan Lake Wetland Center

Socorro’s Naujan Lake Wetland Center is a project envisioned to provide endless possibilities for its local communities through responsible and sustainable ecotourism, livelihood opportunities, and environmental awareness.
 
Visayas

  • 1st place: Tubigon, Bohol’s Enchanted Ilijan Plug of Tubigon

The Enchanted Ilijan Plug of Tubigon is identified as the country’s first volcanic plug. The project holds significant tourism potential by establishing infrastructure to improve the socio-economic condition and well-being of the Tubigon communities.

  • 2nd place: Badian, Cebu’s Badian Toong Spring Nature Park

Badian weaves the integration of conservation, sustainable tourism, and community engagement. The project aims to contribute to the protection of ecosystems, empower local communities actively engaged in ecotourism, and promote sustainable development practices in Badian.

  • 3rd place: Silago, Southern Leyte’s Silago Ridge to Reef Eco-Experience Project (SIRREEP): Promoting Sustainability through Eco-Heritage Tourism

Silago’s ridge-to-reef eco experience project aims to promote sustainable tourism, protect natural heritage, and stimulate economic growth by establishing an eco-heritage museum to preserve the largest sperm whale skeleton in the country.

  • 4th place: Victorias City, Negros Occidental’s Gawahon, A Birder's Paradise. Haven for Sustainable and Inclusive Eco-Tourism

Victorias City’s Gawahon Ecopark is an ecotourism paradise envisioned to be a haven for nature enthusiasts. Through environmental conservation and community development, Gawahon is set to be a model for sustainable tourism, a sanctuary for endangered species, and a source of prosperity for the community.

  • 5th place: Panay, Capiz’ Panay: A Coastal Resource Experience

The Panay Coastal Resource Experience Project intends to develop Panay’s mangrove forest with nature-inspired cottages and breathtaking views. It aims to stimulate livelihood opportunities, regenerate mangrove populations, and seek social equity for future generations.

 Mindanao

  • 1st place: Isabela City, Basilan’s Lampinigan SANDS (Sustainable and Natural Destination of the South): The Lampinigan Jetty Port and Leisure Development Project

Beyond the pristine white sand and jaw-dropping rock formation of Lampinigan Island, the heartbeat of this project is the people. Aiming to enrich tourism activities through community engagement, the project features infrastructure facilities for the convenience of the tourists such as jetty port, pavilion hall and view deck.

  • 2nd place: Davao City, Davao del Sur’s Panunod: A Way of Life, Inherited Preservation of the Unwavering Legacy of Cultural and Sustainable Tourism of the Davao City

Situated at Davao City’s Ramon Magsaysay Park will rise a cultural peace hub for the Indigenous and Bangsa Communities. The project will establish a centralized cultural center and sustainable communities dedicated to showcasing economic opportunities for the arts and products of the city’s 11 ethnolinguistic tribes.

  • 3rd place: Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte (IGACOS)’s Mangrove Boardwalk and Gallery

Anchored on the City’s priority agenda on environmental management and protection, Samal Island’s mangrove boardwalk project is envisioned to sustain the convergence of infrastructure, economics, and environmental development for the benefit of local communities.

  • 4th place: Tagum City, Davao del Norte’s Truly Tagum: Advancing the Benefits of an Enriched Heritage-Tourism Circuit

Designed to enrich the heritage tourism circuit of Tagum City, the project aims to provide greater opportunities for tourism enterprises, diversified livelihood options for host communities, increased income, and improved quality of life for the community-based tourism stakeholders.

  • 5th place: San Agustin, Surigao del Sur’s Construction of Tourist Catwalk at Gata to Bretania Mangrove Areas

San Agustin’s Tourist Catwalk project aims to develop and preserve its mangrove forest while unlocking its astounding tourism potential through immersive tourist experiences and fostering sustainable tourism development and stimulating socio-economic growth.

The DOT said that aside from the additional P75 million cumulative grant from the president, the following cash grants will be received by the winner, amounting to P180 million:

  • First placers – P20 million each

  • Second placers – P15 million each

  • Third placers – P10 million each

  • Fourth placers – P8 million each

  • Fifth placers – P7 million each

Their proposals were reviewed by the TCC Committee, chaired by Frasco, with Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano and TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid as vice chairs, and other DOT officials as members.

The judges invited included Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Benjamin Abalos Jr. represented by Assistant Secretary Lilian De Leon, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga represented by Regional Director Ma. Victoria Abrera, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Vice President for Trade Mission and director of the Environment and Climate Change, Infrastructure, and Construction Committee Felino Palafox Jr., with PricewaterhouseCoopers as knowledge partner.

On the other hand, the DOT said the TCC advisers include former DOT Undersecretary and now Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. (PHOA) Executive Director Benito Bengzo Jr., former Tourism Undersecretaries and Rolando Canizal and Daniel Corpuz, Associate Professor Dr. Ramon Benedicto Alampay of the Asian Institute of Tourism, and Dr. Maria Cherry Lyn Rodolfo of the Asian Institute of Management.

The TCC awarding ceremony was led by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin Frasco.

vuukle comment

CHRISTINA FRASCO

DOT

FERDINAND MARCOS JR

PHILIPPINE TOURISM

TIEZA

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