Groups urge conversion of Biak-na-Bato into TEZ

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    SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan – A combined environmental and tourism groups plan to reinvigorate tourism at the Biak-na-Bato National Park here proposing its inclusion under the tourism economic zone (TEZ).

    Officials of the Biak-na-Bato Rainforestation Program (BNBRP) and the Bulacan Tourism Convention Visitors Board (BTCVB) cited potentials of the national park which was used as fortress and headquarters by Filipino revolutionaries in the war against Spain, the United States and Japan.

    Shane Velasco, chair of the BNBRP under the Bulacan State University (BulSU) said that Biak-na-Bato National Park has all what it takes to be placed under the TEZ.

    He noted its historical importance along with environmental biodiversity, which he said are good attractions for tourists.

    “Our long term plan is to have Biak-na-Bato National Park be part of the TEZ so that it will be in under the radar of tourism investors,” Velasco said.

    The same was echoed by Jose Clemente, chair of the BTCVB who said that the national park is better if not comparable to tourist destinations in Bohol.

    “You should see the Madlum Cave within the Biak-na-Bato National Park, its better than the caves in Loboc because  the floor of Madlum cave is made of natural marble while other caves in the country is filled with mud,” Clemente said.

    He added that the vicinity surrounding the National Park can be developed as a venue for extreme sports like mountain and rock climbing, mountain biking, and even a zoological park, similar to Zoobic Zafari in Subi Bay Freeport, and the Zoocobia Park located at the Sacobia Valley in the Clark Freeport.

    Clemente also stressed the number of caves within the national park especially the Paniki Cave just beside the second hanging bridge of the national park with a view deck.

    Aside from the above, he said that white water rafting is possible within the national park on certain month of the year.

    “It is because the national park is sliced by the Balaong River, thus, it is called “biak-na-bato,” he said.

    For her part, Dinia Quetua, head of the provincial tourism office of Bulacan cited the existing facilities at the national park like the newly built convention center, and the picnic area.

    Quetua said that the convention center can now be rented for private, public or corporate functions at low rates.

    The said convention center was constructed through the efforts of former Congresswoman Lorna Silverio of the third district of Bulacan. She also planned to build a hostel there, but it never materialized.

    A mountain fortress, Biak-Na-Bato was declared as a National Park with a total of 2,117 hectares by the late President Manuel L. Quezon.  It was never breached nor invaded by enemies of Filipino revolutionaries in the past wars they fought.

    During martial law, the late President Ferdinand Marcos opened part of the national park for mineral exploration.

    After the Edsa People’s Power Revolution, the late President Corazon Aquino divided the Biak-na-Bato National Park into four different areas, namely mineral reservation area, forest reservation, watershed reservation and national park.

    This led to rampant mining operations within its mineral reservation area, but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already cancelled the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement it issued to Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation (Rosemoor) last December 28.


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