THE Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) approved some P15 million for the development of tourism centers in three local government units in Davao Oriental where the Unesco heritage site Mt. Hamiguitan is located.

"It (the funds) is coming but I heard it was approved for the three sites," Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon told Sun.Star Davao Monday.

She said the funds will be used for the development of tourist centers in the municipalities of San Isidro and Governor Generoso and Mati City.

Malanyaon said the tourism centers will include an interpretation site, visitors lounge, a small museum, camp sites, trails, and view decks, among others.

"But it is not enough considering that the development will be in three towns and the infrastructures that will be placed for each town will be different from each other," she said.

Malanyaon said they will be offering a counterpart for the development of the tourism centers for each site.

"We have set P5 million per site for our counterpart as the need arises, (but) it depends on the program," she said.

Aside from that, Malanyaon said that right now, they are setting aside P5 million each for the initial development of the tourism centers in the three towns.

Earlier, she said the establishment of the tourism centers is one of the components they are adopting from Unesco heritage site models.

The tourism centers will help in the conservation of the site and, at the same time, provide the needed information to its tourists because the site will be closed. However, it will be open for researchers and scientists.

Mt. Hamiguitan was declared as a Unesco heritage site on June 23, 2014, boosting Davao region and Davao Oriental's tourism industry. It became the sixth heritage site in the Philippines to be inscribed in the Unesco World Heritage List. It is also the first heritage site in Mindanao and the only mountain in the Philippines to be inscribed.

The site is home to 6,091 endemic species of plants, 102 endemic species of mammals, 186 endemic species of birds, 160 endemic species of reptiles, 76 endemic species of amphibians, and 67 endemic freshwater fishes.