THE Provincial Development Council (PDC) yesterday approved a resolution declaring Cebu as a bird and bat sanctuary.

Its members also approved a resolution supporting the move in Congress to reclassify Bantayan Island from a mangrove and timberland area to alienable and disposable land.

These were two of the nine resolutions approved by the PDC, which is chaired by Gov. Hilario Davide III with mayors, people’s organization, nongovernment organizations and government line agencies as members.

The resolutions will be sent to the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Provincial Board (PB) for approval and endorsement to a higher office.

However, the PDC deferred a resolution that supports local government units (LGUs) developing natural attractions and maximizing the full potential of their beauty spots.

The council still has to discuss the development of some local tourist destinations with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for funding.

Some PDC members also moved to abolish “Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo,” while Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy suggested changing its name to “Balik Duaw (Return Visit).”

Institutionalized

However, Davide explained that a provincial ordinance has institutionalized the program, with Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale introducing changes and improvements.

In the past, the activity entailed expenses, sometimes to the detriment of host towns, but “Suroy-Suroy Sugbo” is now beneficial to the Province, the governor said.

Last May 21, the environment committee of the PDC passed a resolution asking the PB to declare Cebu as a bird and bat sanctuary.

It cited Provincial Ordinance 2012-13 that promotes wildlife biodiversity and natural heritage conservation. The ordinance said the Province should enforce biodiversity conservation and formulate legislation for the protection of flora and fauna.

Yesterday, the PDC approved the resolution “as bats and birds are vital to the ecosystem, being responsible in seed dispersal and pollination, which is necessary for the propagation of plants and trees, in addition to being natural pest control creatures.”

Reclassification

PDC also approved an environment committee resolution supporting the Bantayan reclassification bill, authored by Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 5th district), for approval in Congress.

Converting the island to alienable and disposable land will remove a legal impediment in acquiring property in Bantayan. It will allow parcels of lot to be titled, which is a requirement in getting government funding for relocation sites for typhoon Yolanda survivors.

The PDC also approved a resolution endorsing a farm-to-market road project of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), a six-year Department of Agriculture (DAR) program that will establish a modern value-chain oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

Priority

The council also approved a resolution adopting a prioritization scheme for road links and infrastructure investments among Cebu’s economic drivers, like tourism.

Based on this, the PDC also passed a complementary resolution that will prioritize line agencies that will fund these road links and infrastructure investments.

It also agreed to endorse DAR’s inclusive partnership for agricultural competitiveness (Ipac) program to the PB for adoption and approval.

Ipac aims to improve capacities of farmers’ organizations and increase their competitiveness.

The PDC also approved a resolution for Cebu to organize an environment summit.

It agreed to assign personnel from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office to clustered districts.

The council also approved a resolution to convene the Provincial Water Resource Authority.