BAGUIO CITY – Abra Gov. Maria Jocelyn Valera-Bernos underscored the provincial government will embark on tourism and infrastructure development as the driver of its desired growth and development to help move the people of the province out from the shackles of poverty in the future.
Valera-Bernos, who personally attended the joint Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting at the Mansion House last Friday, said the 303 barangays and 27 municipalities of Abra is rich with potential tourist destinations which could be maximized through the aggressive implementation of infrastructure development that will propel the province’s economy in the future.
“We have struggled to get out from the bad image being depicted the province that is why we are working extra hard to aggressively implement the desired infrastructure development province-wide to allow the discovery of our rich tourism potentials. We want Abra to be known as one of the prime tourist destinations in the north in the future and we want our people to benefit from the potentials of tourism in their places, Valera-Bernos told the RPOC and RDC members during the presentation of the Abra security plan for the upcoming Unity Gong Relay.
The Abra governor claimed local officials are trying their best to rid their places on the spate of killings that tend to affect the overall image of the province when published and broadcasted, thus, she encouraged the active participation of concerned sectors in making sure that the occurrence of untoward incidents that will compromise the province’s peace and order situation should be avoided.
Abra has been branded as the killing fields of the north in the early 1980s up to early 2000because of the reported brutal murder of influential individuals and their supporters.
The Abra official pointed out efforts of the local government are being geared towards putting in place the appropriate infrastructure development so that tourism potentials around the province could be explored, developed and maximized for their potentials in bringing development to the remote villages of the province in the future.
According to her, it is unavoidable that there are killings that happen in the different parts of the province but based on police reports, the said untoward incidents could be attributed to a personal grudge, revenge and no longer politically motivated as what had been happening in the past.
To show to the Cordillerans the state of development that Abra was able to achieve over the past several decades, she extended the invitation to the RPOC and RDC to hold their future joint meetings in the province and that the local government will always be a gracious host to the conduct of such regional activities in their place to help correct the lingering negative impression of Abra and for the people to be able to appreciate its growth potentials in the future.
The RPOC and RDC leadership are considering holding the joint third and fourth quarter meetings in either Apayao or Abra depending on which province will be able to submit their intentions as Apayao had already proposed to host the joint September meetings of the two councils.