THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading on August 28 a bill declaring the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag and its environs located in Manaoag a pilgrimage site and tourist destination.
“It was a long road but finally, the House Bill No. 7882 or the ‘Manaoag Bill’ was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives,” said Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia, author of the bill with Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles as his co-author.
De Venecia said the bill includes a development plan for the protection of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag, and its surroundings.
As a National Cultural Treasure declared by the National Museum and as the most venerated Marian image in the Philippines approved by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Our Lady of Manaoag Basilica has approximately 350,000 tourists visiting from all over the world.
He said prioritizing the safety of the tourists and the preservation of the area will result in a better experience for the tourists, which in turn will further boost further tourism in Manaoag and nearby towns.
Within one year after the approval of the law, the Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other concerned agencies of the government, will prepare a tourism development plan involving the construction, installation and maintenance of such appropriate facilities and infrastructure that shall improve the overall features of the area, thereby ensuring the accessibility and the security of pilgrims and surrounding the basilica, thereby ensuring its accessibility and the security of tourists.
It also directs the DOT to include in the Department’s annual General Appropriations Act and internally generated funds for the program. (With PhilStar wire service report)
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