Posted on July 22, 2012


Mayor says town can manage Malapascua

Pupils from Malapascua elementary school walk home on powder-fine beach sand. Their island is a prized diving site and low-key tourist destination.

Daanbantayan Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot said she wants to regain control of the development planning for Malapascua Island from the office of the governor because projects have been “stalled” for years.

Loot said projects which the Capitol administration have been announcing were just “stories”.

After her falling out with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia following the 2010 election, Loot said she looks forward to a better chance of initiating projects in the island, whose waters are a world-famous diving spot with white sand beaches that gave Malapascua the monicker “Little Boracay”.

“Asa may projects sa Malapascua? Storya ra man to. Pagara-gara nga kunohay gi-bidding na,” she said. (Where are the projects in Malapascua? Those are just stories and claims that projects have already been bidded out.)

Loot pointed to a health center being built with native materials.

“Look at what they call a health center. It’s just made of native materials. It’s still a temporary structure,” she said.

“Let Provincial Engineer Adolofo Quiroga count that. That’s why we just took over,” she added.

The mayor also cited an unfinished Maya port project, where she said the real work was done through 4th district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon but no progress on the side of the provincial government.

“We’ll just have to wait till after 2013. We can’t do anything with that project,” she said.


Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot

Mayor Loot said the municipality is willing to purchase 100 solar lamp posts to light up the entire island.

“The town will be the one to spend and I’ll ask a counterpart fund from Congressman Benhur Salimbangon, ” she said.

Last month, the Provincial Board showed it was leaning in favor of the request of Daanbantayan municipal council for the town to resume its role as the lead agency that would manage and administer the Malapascua Island Ecotourism Development Plan.

The board approved a recommendation of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale as head of the tourism committee, to encourage the revision of a Memorandum of Agreement that placed the Province of Cebu in charge in 2006.

The original MOA was crafted in 2003 during the term of then governor Pablo Garcia, father of the incumbent governor, and defined the role of the Daanbantayan as lead agency.

The MOA was amended in 2006 placing the office of the governor in charge, citing as reasons lack of personnel and resources in the town.

The board last month said it was “imperative” that the MOA be amended “ to accommodate the desire o the municipality of Daanbantayan subject to the consent and approval of all parties concerned.”


Loot’s son, PB Member Sun Shimura said it’s been seven years since any new development was put up in Malapascua by the province.

“If they just relied on the province, considering the relationship of Daanbantayan town and province, it’s as if all plans for Malapascua would be sacrificed,” he told CDN.

“Right now, even during off-peak season, Malapascua has many guests,” he said.

The Malapascua Legend resort owned by the Lua family is undergoing expansion, he added.

The island is known as a dive spot where thresher sharks and manta rays can be found in the shoals. It is still a quiet island with basic infrastructure and some resorts, dive shops and restaurants.

Unlike its counterpart in Boracay, the island does not have crowds and a busy nightlife, mainly due to limited electric power supply.

Malapascua is identified by the Department of Tourism as one of the priority areas in Region 7 for development and investment of tourism infrastructure as part of the Northern Cebu-Bantayan-Malapascua area.

Shimura said the town has a right to steer the island’s growth.

“They have a right , they have local autonomy,” he said.

He said barangay roads that were damaged by typhoon Frank in the island last year have not been fixed despite repeated requests to the Provincial Planning and Development Office.

Shimura repeated his appeal for help last month to Engineer Quiroga.

“I asked him if it needs a resolution but ang project nahuman na man daw na siya. He said it wasn’t necessary, that he would be the one to explain because the project is under warranty by the contractor.” /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent

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