Tourism boost eyed by Dinagat Islands LGU as local economy recovers from pandemic

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 28 (PIA) -- While it was able to control concerns on public health and maintain low confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the local government unit of Loreto town in the Province of Dinagat Islands is still confronted by the impact of the pandemic.

And to address this, the municipal government is turning to boosting local tourism in hopes of reviving its local economy.

“Kami po ay hindi naman masasabing totally affected considering ang dinagat ay kung sa kaso ay mababa naman yung naging kaso ng Dinagat [Islands] pero ang pinaghahandaan po talaga naming ay yung pagbangon. Ang ekonomiya, ang economic side natin, kung paano yung mga tao na muling makabangon , kumita. At alam kong sa pamamagitan ng tourism, malaki-laki po itong maitulong,” said Town Mayor Doandre Bill Ladaga during his interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar on Wednesday, March 24, for the Network Briefing News.

The town is known for its robust ecotourism and houses the famous Mount Redondo Natural Bonsai Forest as well as the historic Campintac Black Beach No. 2, where the American liberation troops during the World War II landed on October 17, 1944.

While travel restrictions are still being implemented, the mayor said local tourists continue to flock to their tourist attractions and even observed an influx of tourist arrivals. To better accommodate them, the local government is eyeing on providing better and accessible accommodation, with investors joining the project.

“Meron na po tayong ginagawa na mga buildings o mga villa houses sa [Sitio] Campintac. Nagplano pa kami na maglalagay ulit ng mga facilities at yung mga investors din natin, yung mga lokal na mga negosynate, natutuwa naman kami na dumadami na yung nagtatayo ng mga lodging houses.”

Local laws on environmental protection also come into play in their efforts to improve tourism, as they continue to strictly implement regulations on mining activities and disallowed mining to take place in certain areas.

But these preparations might be extinguished as mobility and ease of transportation going to Loreto remains a problem. Visitors will have to take a two-hour ride from Surigao City to get to the town; travel time is even longer for those coming from Siargao Islands, as they will have to endure a two-hour land trip and another hour traveling by sea.

“Kami po ay nag e-encourage ng mga investors na sana po meron ng magkakalakas ng loob para iupgrade natin yung transportation natin para sa ganun ay mas lalong maattract yung mga turista na pumunta sa lugar,” Mayor Ladaga said.

He also called on the national and provincial governments to help address this problem and also grant the municipal government projects to improve their access roads leading to local tourist sites.

Meanwhile, travelers coming from outside the province are still prohibited from entering the province. Both the provincial government and the League of Municipal Mayors of Dinagat Islands agreed to have at least a month for local chief executives to observe their area while COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate in Caraga region. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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