NINETEEN inland resorts in Marilog and Paquibato districts in Davao City are set to re-open soon after the Business Bureau's observation that their closure might adversely affect the local economy.

"Due to the closure of various inland resorts, the influx of tourist and visitors in the area has considerable decreases which has a domino effect which likewise adversely affect the economic activity and livelihood of those sectors whose main income is dependent on the operation of the inland resorts," the Business Bureau said in their official observation report.

The report was submitted to the Joint Council Committee on Transportation and Communications, Tourism and Beautification, Housing, Rural and Urban Development, and Environment and Natural Resources.

According to the joint committee report, one of those who are really affected are the habal-habal drivers in the area. A large part of their income comes from providing tourist transport services.

Dr. Ezranelson Alojado, owner of Gethsemane Resort, also told the committee that with the closure of the resort, they had to stop their scholarship program.

Davao City Councilor Conrado Baluran said in an interview Tuesday, March 5, that Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre and City Administrator Zuleika T. Lopez have already discussed the re-opening of the resorts with Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio.

They were advised to seek administrative and legislative means in coordination with the City Planning and Development Office on the lifting of the closure. The inland resorts will be allowed to operate again once they have complied with the necessary permits and put in place mitigating measures to ensure the safety of the visitors.

"Ang plano man gud sa atong mayor nga kadtong mga areas nga naay nay nadevelop naa silay iintroduce mitigating measures (The plan of our mayor to those area which were already developed, they will introduce mitgating measures)," Baluran said.

He said one of the examples of mitigating measures is tree planting.

"They have to comply. They have to choose whether will be remained close or follow whatever the [city's requirements]," Baluran said.

On July 21, 2018, the Business Bureau issued a closure order to the resorts after it was discovered that these did not have business permits and were operating in a conservation zone as identified in the Zoning Ordinance of the city.

To be able to operate again, the council has to amend Article 4 Section 2 and Article 6 Section 1 of the 2013 Amended Zoning Ordinance. However, due to the report of the Business Bureau, they will allow the operation of these businesses as long as they comply with the requirements.

"Even if he is still in the process of amending or introducing amendments through this particular items ipa open na nato ang mga closed establishment (the closed establishment will be opened)," Baluran said.

At present, the council is in the process of amending these provisions in the ordinance.

Baluran said they have created Task Force Marilog, which is composed of representatives of national and Local government agencies, to monitor the resorts and to bring back the tourism activities in Marilog and Paquibato districts.