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Plan for the Terraces....

In his extemporaneous speech, Banaue Rice Terraces in danger of erosion
(PNA) - The Banaue Rice Terraces, which have been
considered as the 7th wonders of the world, now face the danger of
erosion if not given the massive restoration and preservation work.
It was a year ago when it was learned that the Terraces will be
restored and that a masterplan have been formulated for this project.
However, it was learned that because of lack of funds, the plan is
likely far from taking off.
Earlier, Tourism Undersecretary Evelyn Pantig told the Philippines
News Agency (PNA) that a masterplan have been formulated for the
restoration and preservation of the terraces.
Pantig said the Plan will be implemented over a six-year period
with the initial year critical in terms of setting up the organizational
and management systems that will direct the operation of the Project
including the studies/operational planning activities to firm up the
bases of area-specific interventions.
The total investment requirement to implement the Plan over a
six-year period is estimated at P1.31 billion broken down as follows:
Year 1, P248.86 million; Year 2, P349.61 million; Year 3, P240.75
million; Year 4, P94.50 million; Year 5, P151.65 million; Year 6 P128.40
Funding will come from other government agencies such as DPWH, NIA,
DENR, Philvocs, DOT/PTA/Duty Free, PAL, and foreign agencies like OECP,

A commission has already been created out of an Executive Order
signed by President Fidel V. Ramos to oversee the implementation of the

The terraces, long been considered as the top tourist attraction in
the country have been carved out of the mountains of the Ifugao region
in Northern Philippines many centuries ago by tribesfolk.
The terraces are vast ricefields constructed on the slope of the
mountain manually.

The terraces have been nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO World
Heritage List. The inclusion and the recognition of the terraces as a
heritage of the Filipino people is expected to bring attention to the
national government's efforts to promote culture and arts.
The terraces now face the danger of erosion, partly due to the lack
of knowledge of tribesmen on water and irrigation management programs
and partly due to the massive influx of tourists into the area.
The Commission was created under former Tourism Secretary Vicente
J. Carlos, but the program of now DOT Secretary Mina T. Gabor fits into
it considering that Gabor's program goes for the enhancement of culture
and arts.

Pantig said the six-year Master Plan defines the overall framework
and integrated intervention scheme for restoring and preserving the
Ifugao Rice Terraces.

She said the Plan identifies nine major components which are
presented as areas for integrated investment, programming in six-years

These are as follows: natural hazard management program,
agricultural management program, watershed management program, water
management and irrigation, transport development program, spatial
restructuring and tourism development, socio-cultural enahncement
program, livelihood development program and institutional strengthening.
Pantig said that by major program, the Spatial restructuring and
tourism development program has the largest budget followed by transport
and institutional development.

She disclosed that the rice terraces is a complex farming system
consisting not only of the terraces ponds but alos the swidden farms and
the muyongs.

"All these components of the terrace system must be taken together
if the rice terraces is to be restored and preserved," Pantig said.
The restoration and preservation of the rice terraces is timely
considering that DOT officials hope to establish a stable tourist center
in the northern region founded on "cultural identity."

The terraces masterplan would rationalize the tourist activity in
the area. The transport component of the masterplan will in effect,
open up the region to more tourists.
By making the region more accessible to tourists, the government
establish a stable tourist center in the northern region founded on "cultural identity."

The terraces masterplan would rationalize the tourist activity in
the area. The transport component of the masterplan will in effect,