CARMEN, Bohol – The tug-of-war between the getting rid of the vegetation that covers Chocolate Hills and preservation of the environment rages on. Mayor Ricardo A. Toribio in this tourist interior town has reiterated his call for the agencies concerned to act at once on their plea of clearing the tree-covered Chocolate Hills, the town’s premier attraction and one and only of its kind in the world.
This developed as the arrivals of visitors in the Choco hills viewing deck on top of a hill Chocolate Hills situated at barangay Buenos Aires are now in upward trend, the mayor said.
He said this means that it’s back to normal of this tourist spot, wherein more than a thousand of tourists in average daily are coming here just like the good old days. And this is true, the mayor said, as visitors to see the wonder mounds are coming in droves as the summer season is fast approaching.
The mayor accompanied the United States ambassador to the Philippines Philip S. Goldberg and his entourage in viewing the Chocolate Hills. The envoy scaled the concrete stairs to the viewing deck to sight-see the hills after he was entertained by ukulele-playing Carmen school children at the complex.
The magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed the viewing deck of the complex. But the mayor said this will be renovated soon since that the town has already allocated fund for its rehabilitation and after the DENR’s go-signal to go ahead of its rehabilitation.
The mayor said he’s still wary that their appeal to conduct clearing of trees growing rapidly in the surroundings and at the foot of each Choco Hills might fall on deaf ears since the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not acted on their request.
The mayor earlier said that there’ll come a time when tourist could no longer see the beauty of the Choco Hills because they would be covered by trees and other vegetation. He said that a hefty percentage of the vegetation threatens to envelop the hills.
The complex is managed by this town but owned by the provincial government under a contract. The contract remains not renewed, reports said. This town gets 70% of the net income and the 30% goes to the provincial government.