Palawan allocates P7.6B for infra, livelihood to support tourism boom

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The provincial government of Palawan has allocated P7.6 billion in critical infrastructure and livelihood opportunities over the medium term to support its booming tourism sector.

Palawan Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez said that Palawan as the country’s premier tourism destination needs P25 billion in investments over a 10-year period.

Alvarez announced this at the launch of its investment forum on July 28 and tourism and trade fair on August 7-11 this year.

According to Alvarez, the provincial government has gone ahead with its huge budgetary allocation because it would take a long time for the national government to process funding requirements. This also one way to ensure that taxes collected in Palawan are put into good use by Palawenos.

Alvarez, however, said that the Department of Finance has already approved its  P2.3-billion water infrastructure loan, but which would be paid overtime by the local government.

The water project is expected to provide potable water to 367 barangays in 22 towns. The goal is to come up with a mineral quality water after two years.

The provincial government will also create 22 municipal airports in 22 towns to allow small aircraft (10-seater) that will ferry tourists directly to the tourism destinations.

Alvarez said that each grass airport, which may just be an airstrip initially and not yet cemented, is expected to cost P50 million each or P1.1-billion total.

These airpots will also be used as calamity airports in times of natural disasters.

The government will also set up 15 hospitals in the province with estimated investments of P900 million. For its livelihood projects, it has already geared up its seaweed and cacao ventures, which will cost P300 million each. The seaweeds project, which is in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will cover 7,700 hectares.

Seaweed production in Palawan should be doubled to 600,000 metric tons from the current P334,000 MT.

The local government is also expected to spend for the construction of new and improvements of existing local road network of 5,570 kilometers.

a total of 5,570 kilometer stretch of roads.

This road infrastructure is on top of the P7.5-billion national roads appropriations under the Department of Public Works and Highways. The national roads are expected to be completed by 2016.

To push all these construction projects going, Alvarez said the provincial government has already procured via bidding P1.2 billion worth of heavy equipment. It has also allocated P1.5 billion for fuel, maintenance and operation over a five-year period.

The Department of Tourism has also allocated P2 billion worth of investments for road networks that would provide seamless travel from airport to tourism areas.

The airport in San Vicente town will be a regional airport and Coron will cost P4.3 billion under the national government to allow regional flights to directly fly into Palawan’s tourism sites.

“The trend now in tourism is to make seamless travel from the gateway to tourism site,” Alvarez said.

These investments by the local government are also on top of the private sector investors. Two private companies are looking at two new power projects in Palawan, whose 30 percent of its areas are still without electricity.

“Palawan is not poor but we still have poor constituents that is why we are stepping up these projects to alleviate their plight,” Alvarez said. They have also allocated funds for the construction of new school buildings.

Palawan’s income is derived from the Galoc oilfields as the province is entitled to 20 percent share out of the 40 percent government share.

But to support the strong tourism sector of the province, Alvarez said they need at least P25 billion in tourism facilities, infrastucture, establishments and livelihood projects or at least P2 billion annually over a period of 10 years.

There are an estimated 1 million tourist arrivals in Palawan and hopes to increase this figure by at least 250,000 a year.

Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/palawan-allocates-p7-6b-for-infra-livelihood-to-support-tourism-boom/#POH0XJsX3tgxRHCo.99

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