Press Release
April 26, 2018

With the 6-month Boracay closure:

As the six-month closure of Boracay island begins today, Senator Sonny Angara has urged the government to aggressively promote other Philippine tourist destinations, especially in poorer areas, in order to sustain the country's tourism growth.

"Habang sumasailalim sa rehabilitasyon ang Boracay, napakarami pang ibang magaganda at world-class destination sa bansa na dapat nating ipagmalaki. This is an opportune time to help bring our other tourist spots to international recognition, which would continue to entice tourists to visit the Philippines," Angara said.

The senator has cited Sorsogon, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga, Catanduanes and Siquijor, which are among the poorest provinces, as potential tourist magnets because of their beautiful beaches.

"The local government should invest in tourism and develop the necessary infrastructure that would make it easier for tourists to visit the area. We should improve our road networks and fix our airports. Even Baler, my hometown, could attract more tourists if the establishment of the airport could be fast-tracked," said Angara, former three-term congressman of Aurora Province.

He added that the boost in the tourism industry would generate more jobs that would help alleviate poverty in these provinces.

"Talagang nakalilikha ng trabaho at kabuhayan ang turismo para sa mga lokalidad. Kahit iyong mga hindi nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ay maaaring kumita sa pagtu-tour guide o sa pagtitinda ng souvenir at iba pa. Malaking tulong ang turismo upang sila ay umangat sa buhay," the lawmaker said.

Angara, one of the authors of the Tourism Act of the Philippines, however, stressed that these emerging tourist hotspots should be prepared for the expected surge of visitors.

He commended the government's initiatives to check the status of other beach destinations--including El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Panglao Island in Bohol--if they are environmentally compliant.

"Dapat ay magsilbing aral na sa lokal na turismo ang sinapit ng Boracay. We call on government agencies and local officials to strictly implement environmental laws and local ordinances so as to ensure their sustainable development," said Angara, chairman of the Senate local government committee.

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