TOURISTS take selfies in Guimaras Island. (File)
THE provincial government of Guimaras said it will do its best to avoid becoming “the next Boracay” as more foreign investors are expected to expand in the island.
In his State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered on Dec 19, 2018, Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin said the island province anticipates more investors, thus it is preparing for possible consequences of the emergence of tourism and other business establishments.
Gumarin said that there is “consistent increase” in new business at an average rate of 68 percent.
“This is a strong indication that investment potentials in Guimaras are maximized,” he said.
Tourist arrivals during the weeklong celebration of the Manggahan Festival also increased from 68, 550 in 2017 to 90, 492 in 2018.
“The Province of Guimaras was also given the platform to promote the island as a haven for investment. Based on the series of business meetings with the New York firms, University of the Philippines Association, Filipino communities, we eye to project foreign direct investments for high value crops, eco-tourism, medium enterprises, utilities and Business Processing Outsourcing,” Gumarin said.
With the passage of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business (EODB), which expanded the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, the province of Guimaras is working on the Unified Licensing System in the issuance of business permits particularly for the tourism establishments in the coastal areas.
The EODB further eases business and non-business related transactions for investors and Filipinos.
One of its authors is Iloilo fourth district Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who also chairs the House Committee on Trade and Industry.
“We do not want to be the next Boracay; while it (Boracay) is just a component of Aklan, Guimaras is an island province. Worse things will happen it tourism industry is shut down. And we will not if we all cooperate and do our fair share in protecting our one and only island,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterto ordered the six-month environmental rehabilitation of Boracay Island due to its waste treatment problem.
Around 200 establishments were shut down because these were not connected to the sewer lines.
“We don’t have sewerage in Guimaras,” Gumarin said in an interview.
He said pertinent ordinances would be amended to obligate stores, resorts, and other business establishments to set up its own sewerage system.
The provincial government had already discussed the matter with officials, some private institutions, and resort owners.
Guimaras Vice Governor John Edward Gando assured that they will have a list of operating business establishments to closely monitor compliance with policies issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the province of Guimaras as regards waste treatment.
“We identified all resorts to review the policies of these resorts. We are looking into them to ensure compliance with existing issuances of the DENR and the province of Guimaras,” Gando said.