Team Robredo-Pangilinan (Tropa) woos the votes of Palaweños in a rally at Puerto Princesa on April 6. PHOTOS BY TEAM KIKO PANGILINAN
PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan — Vice-presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan promises a rebirth of tourism in Palawan and the conservation of its natural resources under a Robredo-Pangilinan administration.
Palawan is regarded as one of the best islands in the Philippines and the globe, and is a major tourist destination for foreign visitors. Tourism is the lifeblood of Palawan’s businesses and inhabitants’ livelihoods.
In an interview here, Pangilinan said that a Team Robredo-Pangilinan (Tropa) administration will prioritize the revival of both domestic and international tourism in Palawan by properly managing and controlling Covid. He said this would restore visitor trust and confidence in traveling.
“Unang-una kailangan ma-manage natin nang tama itong Covid. Dahil kapag kahindi natin namanage ang Covid yung mga turista hindi dadating. Nakita natin kay Vice President Leni [ang] napakamasusing tugon sa problema ng Covid,” he said.
Pangilinan said a P100-billion stimulus package for affected MSMEs would be made available as financial assistance so that they could retain employees in the tourism sector and keep their enterprises afloat.
“Yung isang daan bilyong [piso na] stimulus package para sa mga small and medium enterprises para yung ating tourism — yung mga maliit na restaurant, mga maliit na bed and breakfast, itong mga negosyong maliliit para sa turismo — bibigyan yan ng cash assistance. 100 bilyong [piso] ang nakalaan diyan for maliit na negosyante. Itong administrasyon P15 billion lang nilaan, tayo P100 bilyon,” he added.
Employment in the tourism industries went down by 18.1% from 5.72 million in 2019 to 4.68 million in 2020.
“Ang turismo ay buhay at hanapbuhay lalo na dito sa Palawan at pag maayos ang Covid responses natin, maayos ang testing, maganda ang isolation, merong suporta ang ating gobyerno sa ating mga frontliner, manunumbalik ang sigla ng ekonomiya. Magkakaroon ng tiwala ang mga turista, magkakaroon ng resurgence at marererevitalize ang tourism industry. Makikinabang ang Palawan,” he added.
Pangilinan, a champion of agriculture and the environment, has included the development of tourism and environmental protection in his platform of governance if elected vice president.
“Malaking porsyento ng Palawan ang contribusyon niya sa turismo malaking bagay. Yung eco-tourism, yung aquamarine ecosystem at diversity niya napakahalaga and we really have to protect this and ensure na hindi ito mauuwi sa explotation, imbalance, paggamit ng ating resources,” he said.
Pangilinan asserts that the Robredo-Pangilinan administration will keep a close eye on environmentally harmful practices such as illegal mining, overfishing, illegal logging, and dirty power generation.
“Saan ka mangingisda kapag patay na ang mga coral? Paano ka magsasaka kung nalason na yung lupa? Definitely, to protect and preserve and provide food security you have to secure farming and fishing practices,” he said.
Palawan is considered as a “biodiversity frontier” because it still more than 50 percent of its original forest cover and harbors vast stretches of old-growth forests on its mountainous slopes.
“It’s an ecosystem that needs to be protected and preserved for generations,” Pangilinan said.