Calbayog eyes eco-tourism to spur development

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar -- The local government here will focus on eco-tourism projects to generate more jobs for locals.

Mayor Ronaldo Aquino, who got a fresh mandate to lead the city, said that different sectors will benefit from the ongoing development of potential tourism sites.

“Because there is money and job in tourism. Not only hotels and restaurants will benefit from the program, but pedicab or motorcab drivers, and village folks as well,” Aquino said.”

Just recently, the city has opened to the public the Calbayog Zipline and Malajog Ridge Nature Park, which gave alternative income to locals.

There is also ongoing development on Turtle Island, one of the city’s diving and snorkeling site near the nature park.

Other projects are the concreting of the road going to the Mapaso Spring in Rizal village and the road leading to the Bangon falls.

“These projects will surely have positive effects to the city’s economy, and will ultimately increase the economic activities of the city that will lead to improvement,” Aquino said. “We all know that Calbayog has so many tourism potentials. We just have to develop and invest on it.”

According to the Department of Tourism regional office, Calbayog ranked second among the cities in the region in terms of tourist arrivals in 2015. The city received 99,987 local and foreign tourists.

From January to December 2015, the city has generated P757.78 million earnings from 99,987 visitors. This year, the city is targeting 107,363 local and foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, Aquino revealed that more businesses and investments are coming to the city.

At least three commercial banks will soon open branches in Calbayog. Gaisano will also open a five-storey Grand Mall early next year.

Aquino also revealed that Jollibee Foods Corporation will also open another branch in the city.

Early this year, Metro Retail Store Group, opened its hypermarket store, wherein at least 80 percent of its workforce is locals.

“With businesses and investments coming into the city, people will not only enjoy the luxury and services these businesses will offer, but an opportunity for employment,” Aquino said.

According to the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), at least 2,140 permits were issued to new and old businesses in the city last year.

As of this week, BPLO has released 1,879 permits to old and new businesses since January this year, with a posted total assessment for business renewal of 3.9 billion and total assessment for new business of P83.1 million.

Aside from this, the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the province is set to open their new office in Calbayog this year.

Meanwhile, the City Government plans to transfer the city hall and put up a government center in Tomalo Estate in Gadgaran village, four kilometers from the city center.

“The planned transfer of the city hall to Tomalon Estate is another opportunity for an expansion and further development of the city’s business activity,” Aquino said.

According to him, the plan will have a positive impact to the city’s economy since development will not only concentrate at the city proper, giving more rooms for investments.

Aquino said his administration will continue supporting further development of the Calbayog City Arts and Design School of Eastern Visayas, the stand-alone senior high school for arts and design enthusiasts students not only coming from the city, but also from other parts of the region.

The city has earlier allocated at least P60 million for the development of access road leading to the said regional senior high school.

The opening of the said regional senior high school is expected to contribute to the economic development of the city, as students coming from different places in the region will come to the city for their senior high school studies.

“With all the development programs being implemented by the City Government and the coming in of investors, it is a proof that progress of the city continues and economic activity is alive,” he added. (PNA)

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