THE Zamboanga City Government is interested in taking over the tourism aspect of the two Sta. Cruz islands, located 1.9 nautical miles south of the city.

Mayor Celso Lobregat said he intends to make the two Sta. Cruz Islands as one of this city’s tourism showcase stressing that the local government now has the wherewithal to fund the operation.

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Lobregat and Tourism Secretary Albert Lim accompanied by other officials from government and business sectors visited Friday afternoon the two islands, which are managed by the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).

Lim was in the city to represent President Benigno Aquino III in the 6th ZamPen (Zamboanga Peninsula) Business Conference that ended Friday.

Lobregat announced that measures are now being undertaken by the City Government to include initial funds for the development of the facility in the proposed 2011 budget.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) will be signed between the City Government, PTA, Department of Tourism (DOT) and other concerned agencies before the take over takes place, Lobregat said.

DOT Undersecretary Simeon Marfori said they don’t have any objection to the proposal and they believe the two islands will be better run under the local government.

The two Sta. Cruz Islands, though not fully developed, especially the Greater Sta. Cruz, is a favorite destination of visiting tourists both foreign and domestic.

The Greater Sta. Cruz Island is known for its pink sand beach and sand bar while the Little Sta. Cruz Island is a typical white sand beach with pulverized-like sand.

The two Islands are 15 minutes ride away from mainland Zamboanga City. (Bong Garcia)