The efforts of Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez to “make things happen” for southern Palawan economy is about to pay off.
While the neighboring northern Palawan marches to economic development attributed primarily to its thriving tourism industry, the south has somewhat lackadaisically maintained the status quo in the last decade. Tied up to its modest agriculture industry, southern Palawan’s economy is unable to keep pace with the robust growth of the tourism-rich north in the race for economic progress.
The economic landscape is now changing face in the south. At the onset of the Governor JCA administration in 2013, the provincial government has put premium on the development of southern Palawan’s important infrastructure facilities. Topping the list is the 900-million peso road project stretching fifty (50) kilometers traversing Barangay Rio Tuba- a bustling mining community- to Barangay Buliluyan, Bataraza which is due for completion in the last quarter of this year. The road project will connect the BIMP-EAGA RoRo Port in Buliluyan to the arterial road network in the mainland. When the port open its doors in the first quarter of 2018 for tourists and merchants from EAGA (East Asean Growth Area) destinations such as Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, the flow of people, goods and services to and from Palawan is likely to commence.
Quick to capitalize in the economic upswing, some of the country’s top companies like Del Monte Philippines, Kennemer Foods, Agumil as well as Singapore’s Lionheart Ltd are now establishing their respective bases of operations in the south particularly in the municipalities of Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Rizal, Quezon and Sofronio Espaňola.
The provincial government of Palawan is partnering effectively with the national government agencies as well as municipal local government units in putting up projects that will improve the delivery of basic services such as water, electricity, roads and bridges, airports and seaports, school buildings and hospitals in southern Palawan, in anticipation of the economic boom.
Moreover, the need to improve agriculture productivity made it imperative for the provincial government to give due attention to the development of the province’s agriculture industry. As Governor JCA puts it “we must increase our agricultural production to cope up with the food requirements of the growing population and the expected influx of tourists to our shores in the years to come”.
The “wheel of progress” was already set into motion by the present provincial government administration. Sustaining the economic growth now shifts in the hands of the local populace to keep the momentum in upward trend.