Davao City has been selected as recipient of the 1st Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Clean Tourist City Award during the Asean Tourism Forum at the Shangri-La Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand on January 26.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio formally received the award from new Davao Tourism Regional Director Antonio Fernando Blanco. The cities of Pasig in Metro Manila and San Carlos in Negros Occidental received a similar award.
According to the City Information Office, the city was chosen for conforming with the criteria and requirements set by the Asean Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS), which include a solid Environment Management Program, Cleanliness, Waste Management, Awareness-building about Environmental Protection and Cleanliness, Green Spaces, Health Safety, Urban Safety and Security, Tourism Infrastructure and Facilities.
Chinkie Golle, executive director of the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS), who took part in the initial assessment of the city’s government’s solid waste management, said the overall evaluation for the local government unit’s tourism destinations was positive. She said the city is doing its best to ensure that cleanliness of tourist destinations are well-maintained.
However, she said “the award comes with a challenge for the city to improve its waste management,” adding that the increase in the volume of tourists will also result in an increase on the volume of waste we produce.”
Last November, the Environmental Management Bureau confirmed that the sanitary landfill in Tugbok District has been spilling out leachate that spilled dangerously into Matina Pangi river.
The City Environment and Natural Resources Office said actions have been taken to address the spillage, and that at least P42 million has been allotted to rehabilitate the sanitary landfill.
The city has also allotted P100 million to purchase a lot where it can develop a new landfill facility.
It was noted that the city has crafted policies designed to keep its remaining environmental frontiers intact and rehabilitate those that have been damaged.
The ACTCS is aimed at promoting and encouraging cities in ASEAN member countries with a tool that will improve the quality of tourism, not only by increasing their marketing competitiveness but also improve the situation of local residents by providing them livelihood to alleviate poverty.
Let’s congratulate ourselves for this added feather on the cap, but let us accept the challenge of seeing to it that we always protect our environment from overuse and abuse.