DOT Applauds Legislative Effort to Enhance Protection and Management of Chocolate Hills, as the world celebrates Environment Day on June 5

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5 June 2024

Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy

In time with the celebration of World Environment Day on June 5 (Wednesday), Department of Tourism (DOT)  Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expresses gratitude for the legislative initiative aimed at amending and enhancing the existing laws governing the management and protection of the world-renowned Chocolate Hills embodied in House Bill number 10438 led by Representative Edgar Chatto and co-authored by Representatives Maria Vanessa Aumentado, Kristine Alexie Tutor, and Jose Alvarez.

The tourism chief highlighted the importance of this initiative, stating, “The Chocolate Hills are a vital part of our national heritage and an iconic tourist destination. This legislative effort underscores our collective responsibility to safeguard and sustainably develop this unique natural wonder for future generations.”

“The Chocolate Hills, a national treasure and a critical component of Bohol’s status as the Philippines’ sole UNESCO Global Geopark, are poised for improved conservation and sustainable development. The proposed bill aims to expand the composition of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to include representatives from the Department of Tourism, the National Museum, Bohol’s UNESCO technical committee, the religious sector, as well as local environmental planners and architects. This inclusive and comprehensive approach ensures the protection and sustainable management of this iconic landscape,” added Secretary Frasco.

Aligned with the DOT’s commitment to sustainable tourism, the proposed amendments coincide with the vision of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., as outlined in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-28. “The inclusion of Senate and House representatives as ex-officio members with oversight functions will further strengthen the governance framework, ensuring effective implementation and monitoring of management plans and programs”,

The expansion of the Chocolate Hills’ protected area to include the adjacent towns of Valencia and Sierra-Bullones, thereby increasing the total count to 1,776 hills, signifies a significant step towards safeguarding more of this unique natural heritage.

“The expansion of the protected area and the inclusion of diverse stakeholders in the management board reflect our commitment to a holistic approach in preserving the Chocolate Hills. Through collective action, we can enhance its protection, sustainable development, and global recognition,” Secretary Frasco added.

“The DOT fully supports this legislative effort and looks forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the proposed amendments. The Department is confident that through united efforts, the protection, sustainable development, and global recognition of the Chocolate Hills will be significantly enhanced,” enthused the DOT chief.