LUNA, Apayao – Congresswoman Eleanor Bulut-Begtang urged all municipalities of Apayao during the three-day tourism development planning workshop held here to work out and come up with their own final concrete municipal tourism plans in time with the province’s budget preparation when she sits as the new governor on July.
Cong. Bulut-Begtang locally known as “Cong. Leah,” made it clear that the tourism plan for each municipality would become a tangible blueprint in guiding not only the seven municipalities but also the province in line with the implementation of significant projects as to boost further the tourism industry of Apayao.
Cong. Leah pointed out the need for serious planning for all officials and stakeholders concerned including the chief executive of the seven municipalities. She dared not to allot budget for a municipality which have no tourism master plan. “Without the tourism plan, I will not be giving budget for that municipality and the plan should be thoroughly made,” she stressed.
She even prompted all mayors to attend and actively participate in the planning stage to formulate good strategy and effective programs for tourism. “I am glad there are three mayors who are here and you should be here to know what’s happening, and to subsequently approve the planning. We have started and this planning is the first step,” Cong. Leah said in the presence of Mayor Josephine Bangsil of Luna, Mayor Hector Reuel Pascua of Pudtol and Mayor Rodolfo Juan of Flora together with the participants and lecturers from Department of Tourism Cordillera.
Cong. Leah considered the benefits tourism industry has to offer in the locality as it would form part as an effective poverty alleviation program come her term as the local chief executive of Apayao.
“Kapag tuloy-tuloy and influx ng turista, tuloy-tuloy ang kita. Kapag naging autonomous region ang CAR at wala tayong tourism industry, kawawa tayo (If there is a continuous influx of tourists, then the profits continue. If CAR becomes an autonomous region and we don’t have our tourism industry, we will be sorry),” she added.
As part of tourism plan, Congw. Leah has suggested about developing the farm tourism in the province. She acknowledged that farm tourism is appropriate because this does not only cater young and stronger individuals who are capable of climbing mountains and are thrilled by caves and adventurous activities but also invites those who are older ones who appreciate farm and agriculture tourism.
Governor Elias C. Bulut, Jr. and Cong. Leah in different special occasions had earlier openly and repeatedly declared that the province is now heading towards the establishment and promotion of Apayao’s wonders dubbed as the “last forest frontier in the north” for its vast virgin forest. And having a concrete tourism plan both in the provincial and municipal level would mean laying a good foundation especially so that the province is aiming for its inscription as the next UNESCO biosphere reserve of the country next to Albay, Palawan and Puerto Gallera.
BY GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN