CEBU. The Mandaue City Hall.
CEBU. The Mandaue City Hall.File/Mandaue City Information Office Facebook page

Mandaue City seeks prospects for Blue Economy

THE Mandaue City Government conducted a Mangrove Tourism Tour on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, amid plans to develop its marine and coastal assets into potential tourist areas to bolster livelihood and the city’s economy.

Pretty Sharon Mangadlao, city agriculture officer-in-charge, said the tour targeted to inspect Mandaue’s nine coastal areas -- Barangays Jagobiao, Opao, Labogon, Centro, Subangdaku, Looc, Umapad, Paknaan and Basak -- or a total of 72 hectares, for a blue asset inventory to formulate a blue economy development plan and blue economy road map.

The World Bank defines “Blue Economy” as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.”

Mangadlao stressed the need for the city to formulate a development plan and road map for its coastal areas to determine which could become potential tourist areas and which need rehabilitation.

She said they had been establishing mangrove nurseries, especially in those mangrove areas greatly devastated by Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December 2021, and training fisherfolk to be the city government’s partner.

At least 60 participants from local government department offices and private stakeholders, including the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Mandaue City, joined the tour, which started at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“We also target Mandaue as the first local government unit to adopt such an initiative because we know for a fact (that) Mandaue has no tourist attraction, and yet we have these hidden gems (coastal areas),” said Mangadlao.

Michael Abundo, chief executive officer of Ocean Pixel, one of the private sector participants of the tour, suggested including the city’s marine species and ecology in the inventory, and developing marine renewable energy.

Abundo said the city could also hold eco-tourism educational tours to increase public awareness, particularly among Mandaue citizens, on the importance and beauty of eco-tourism, aside from commercial operations.

For his part, MCCI president Kelie Ko suggested the city could develop ports beside its coastal areas, which he said could improve the city’s traffic situation and make it more accessible to tourists.

Abundo admitted that for such development to be realized, the city will need ample funding to attract local and foreign investors.

The House Committee on Economic Affairs began tackling the proposal for a Blue Economy Act, to establish a framework to sustainably develop, manage, and protect the Philippines’ marine and water resources last February.

In a public hearing conducted by the Senate subcommittee on the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System and Blue Economy Act in September, Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Bles Lantayona stressed the approach could benefit the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the fisheries, aquaculture tourism and maritime sector by providing opportunities for sustainable economic activities.

He said it could also support the development and growth of MSMEs engaged in marine-related industries such as seafood processing, boat building, eco-tourism and sustainable fishing practices. (HIC)

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