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Duterte signs law declaring Balanga Wetland and Nature Park as ecotourism zone

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park (BWNP) in Bataan province as a responsible, community-based ecotourism zone.

The BWNP covers 153,578 square meters (sqm) of mangrove forest and 187,500 sqm of foreshore land in Barangay Tortugas, Balanga City.

As a special ecotourism zone, the park will be accorded priority development by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Tourism, Department of Public Works and Highways and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

The new law mandates the creation of a multi-sectoral Balanga Wetland and Natural Park Development Council, which will be headed by the Mayor of Balanga.

The Council will be responsible for the formulation and the implementation of the ecotourism development and management plan in consultation with local residents, businesses and other stakeholders, as well as, the assessment and evaluation of the potential impact of the development to the environmental safety and well-being of the site, communities, and enterprises.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11365 or the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park Responsible Ecotourism Act on August 8, 2019.

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