Press Release
January 26, 2006

Angara bats for tourism policy anchored on history and culture

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today advocated for Philippine tourism policy to be anchored on our country's historical and cultural heritage, as well as environmental endowments.

"The most successful tourist destinations - countries like Italy, Spain and France - capitalize on their history, culture and natural beauty. Tourism alone is a key factor in driving their economies. Even our neighbors Cambodia and Thailand have done significant work in preserving their heritage and attracting more visitors," said Angara.

The Senate is now deliberating Senator Richard Gordon's bill establishing a national policy on tourism as a primary engine for development.

In the course of debate, Angara said that the Philippines is an immensely beautiful country, with great but largely untapped potentials for agro-tourism. He added that Filipinos have been recipients of a rich cultural influence, especially from the Spanish.

"We must learn to embrace our past. No country can say it has never been colonized at one point in its history. So whatever influences we've had, whatever changes has happened in our cultural and physical landscape - we must take the best out of each culture and show it off as distinctly ours," Angara said.

Angara called for government to invest time and resources in preserving and reconstructing our destroyed Hispanic architecture and art.

"Many of our historical and national treasures either lay in shambles or are subjected to constant neglect. We should do to the Banaue Rice Terraces and to Intramuros what the Cambodians did to the Angkor Wat - preserve and protect them not only as main tourism attractions but as windows to our rich past," he said.

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