The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence House Bill 6683, which declares the province of La Union a tourist destination and “Surfing Capital of the North.”
Rep. Vini Nola Ortega (Party-list, ABONO), the bill’s principal author, said the proposal aims not only to showcase the beauty and splendor of La Union’s finest beaches but to encourage water-related sports activities, health awareness, environment protection, and the importance of its continued upkeep and development, among locals and tourists.
Ortega noted that the San Juan town of La Union attracts thousands of tourists during its two surfing seasons: July to October and November to March every year. The local government also holds events, festivals, and even healthy competitions during those periods.
Under HB 6683, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned agencies will work to develop La Union as a top tourist destination.
Within one year after the bill is approved, the said agencies shall prepare a tourism development plan involving the construction, installation and maintenance of appropriate facilities and infrastructure to promote the beaches and surfing activities of the province. It shall likewise ensure accessibility to public services and the security of tourists.
The proposed measure also provides that the DOT and other concerned agencies implement this plan, incorporate it in its annual tourism development programs, and include its funding in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) and from the internally-generated funds of DOT.
Once the concurrent resolution from the Senate is released, the concerned agencies in consultation with the local government of La Union shall formulate the necessary rules and regulations for its proper implementation within a 90-day period.
HB 6683 is co-authored by Committee on Appropriations chairman Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City), who also sponsored its plenary approval along with Committee on Tourism chairperson Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th District, Leyte).