BANGUED, Abra – The provincial government is working double time to help promote the former conflict-stricken province as one of the preferred tourist destinations outside Metro Manila and to compliment Baguio City and Ifugao as the preferred destinations in the north once the appropriate infrastructures will be put in place with the help of concerned government agencies.
Banking on its ‘Awesome Abra’ program, Gov. Maria Jocelyn Bernos claimed poor infrastructures leading to tourist destinations and poor or no communication signals are among the major hindrances of the local government in promoting its scenic waterfalls, rice terraces, hot springs, the rich culture and traditions of the tribes, and the peace-loving people of the province.
“We hope that we can roll out the tourism program by the first quarter of next year for us to be able to get a share from the region’s increasing tourist arrivals, because Abra has its own scenic and historic destinations worthy of visiting by foreign and domestic visitors,” Bernos stressed.
By next month, she disclosed that the local government will be consulting with the various stakeholders to ascertain and identify the unique tourist spots in the 27 municipalities that will be included in the comprehensive provincial tourism program that will serve as a game changer and will depict a new image of Abra as the newest must see destination north of Metro Manila aside from Baguio City and Ifugao.
According to her, the province has a total of 174.5 kilometers of provincial roads wherein 70 percent are unpaved with 64 kilometers described to be earth and gravel roads.
She underscored there is a need for concerned stakeholders to maximize the potentials of the province’s natural beauty to generate the needed income which could be used to create more jobs for the local residents and increase the economic activities and sources of livelihood instrumental in spurring economic growth in the countryside.
While there has been a negative perception on the state of peace and order in the province in the past, she claimed that the negative tag has been a thing of the past and that efforts are already geared towards sustaining the growth and development of Abra which will be beneficial to the present and future generations of Abrenians who had been longing for a drastic improvement in their living condition.
Aside from infrastructure development, especially leading towards identified tourist destinations provincewide, the governor wants concerned government agencies to infuse the needed funds for the development of its existing health facilities, the state of agriculture and the enhancement of inter-connectivity in terms of the improvement of the signals of telecommunication facilities so that there will be greater chances of accessibility inside and outside the province.
Bernos pointed out Abra must catch up with the state of development in its neighboring provinces in the Cordillera and the Ilocos regions so that it will be able to get a share of the increasing foreign and domestic tourists wanting to explore new destinations that will spice up the local economy of the province in the future.