The internationally-renowned Kawasan Falls and canyoneering sites in Cebu’s southeastern town of Badian will undergo intensive rehabilitation to be at par with other tourist destinations in the region.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with Badian Mayor Carmen Lumain together with canyoneering and resort operators, tour guides, and residents on Wednesday and discussed the rehabilitation plan to make the tourist sites more competitive and safer for visitors.
According to the governor, the provincial and town officials have agreed to rehabilitate the Kawasan Falls, the canyoneering sites, and the Lambug Beach, the main attractions at Badian frequently visited by foreign and local tourists.
She said there are structures within the tourist destinations that are unsafe for visitors. This is one of the concerns needed to be addressed first.
“We have a talk with Mayor Lumain and she agreed to the issuance of the cease-and-desist order to pave the way for the demolition of structures in the area,” she said.
Lawyer Renato Villa, provincial legal officer, said Lumain wrote a letter to Garcia about the plight of the Kawasan Falls and the trail towards the canyoneering sites following the devastation brought by Typhoon Odette in December of 2021, asking for the provincial government’s intervention.
Badian town’s environment, tourism, disaster management, and engineering officers conducted an ocular inspection of the tourist sites, and reports that contained photos of structures that pose danger to visitors have been submitted to the provincial capitol.
Meanwhile, Garcia also warned tour operators in Badian town to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and pay proper taxes.
“We are canceling all government permits to those businesses here that have no BIR registration,” Garcia told tour guides and operators attending the meeting.
Garcia said a substantial portion of the taxes paid to the BIR that reverts back to the local government unit would be used to fund tourism-related programs and projects.
Badian town has 908 tour guides, operators, and other tourism-related businesses.
Of the number, only 44 tour operators paid taxes worth PHP336 million to BIR.
There has been no specific date for the start of the rehabilitation activities but officials assured it would start as soon as all the stakeholders are notified of the effort. (PNA)