By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Following the declaration of Kalinga province as a tourism development area (TDA), Tabuk City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban declared that large scale mining will not be allowed in the city.
Tubban said that apart from developing the tourism industry, the city is also an agricultural city. He said that despite the precautionary measures implemented by mining companies, experience proved that there will still be environmental impacts.
“The existing mines in the upper communities are implementing mitigation measures but in the actual experience there are still some negative effects. There were instances in the past that the Chico River was affected by the mine tailings,” he reiterated.
Tubban highlighted the protection and preservation of the Chico River reiterating that white water rafting along the Chico River is among the major tourist attraction of the city and the province. He also pointed out that apart from the tourism aspect, Chico River is also a major source of irrigation not just for Tabuk but even adjacent municipalities as far as Cagayan and Isabela. “Chico River is not just ours. It benefits all of us so we should all take care of it,” he stressed.
According to Tubban there are other tourist attractions in the city apart from the Chico River such as the Padharao Lake. He further said the city tourism office also participated in the recently concluded Kalinga tourism summit where the tourism plan of the province was discussed. He explained that the summit is an off shoot of the enactment of Republic Act 10561 declaring the province as TDA.
Tubban shared that even before the summit, there had been talks between the city government and Depatment of Tourism (DOT) to include Tabuk in the agency’s tour packages. He added that there had also been talks on how to lessen the travel time for local and international tourists. He cited that the fastest route for international tourists is to take a plane from Manila to Tuguegarao, Cagayan. He added that Tuguegarao to Tabuk is just an hour ride.
It can be recalled that on May 17, Republic Act 10561 entitled “An Act Declaring the Province of Kalinga in the Cordillera region as a Tourism Development Area (TDA)” was approved by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The said law specified several potential TDA areas that included Padharao Lake and historical sites in Tabuk City.
Other areas mentioned in RA 10561 are Palan-ah Falls and hot springs in Tinglayan; Mt. Binaratan in Tanudan; rivers and caves in Balbalan, Aguinaldo Hill and mountain lakes in Pinukpuk; Guina-ang village in Pasil; elephant hill and a man made lagoon in Rizal. # nordis.net