The city government will focus, as its strategic goal till the end of its term, on the improvement of existing tourist attractions in the city and the establishment of new destinations.
Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron laid down this direction during the lighting ceremony of the giant Community Christmas Tree at the Balayong People’s Park last Thursday, December 1.
Bayron said they want the city rebranded by “improving our present destinations and establishing new destinations” in order to encourage more tourists to come. He also said present events will be made more popular, new events will be introduced and will aggressively promote the city “as a destination.”
Destination enhancements include the design and construction of new terminals at Sabang Wharf and Honda Bay, as well as the improvement of the 32-kilometer Macarascas-Sabang road section, for which he estimates a P900 million budget.
The city coliseum will undergo major renovations, including the expansion of the coliseum park and the construction of a multi-level parking structure in the back, he also said.
Four new major destinations
Bayron also revealed plans for a 5,000-capacity convention center in the Quito area, which will complement earlier plans in the environmental estate and will be linked by a cable car system.
The Acacia Tunnel will also be developed into Acacia Park, which will include glamping facilities, canopy walks, picnic areas, view decks, restaurants, and other amenities, while the Balayong People’s Park will include additional amenities such as a skate park for children and a “screaming eagle zipline, spiral observation tower, a multi-level still parking building, and food courts and stalls.
All of this, he said, will be accomplished in collaboration with the business sector via public-private partnership joint venture or long-term lease, “to develop the city’s night time economy.”
Likewise, Bayron announced that the city will officially host the Ironman competition in 2023, 2024, “and beyond.”
He claimed Sunshine Events promotions had informed him that registration for the 2023 Ironman and Ironkids had indeed begun and that 22 triathletes had already signed up.
Furthermore, the city will submit a bid to host more sporting events, such as the national and international dragon boat night races that will take place on the baywalk in Puerto Princesa City.
Regarding the agricultural sector, he made an announcement about the availability of farm implements as well as other types of equipment and tools. These items will offer free assistance to farmers in the areas of land preparation, harvesting, processing, irrigation, and transportation of their produce to markets.
He said the mini city halls now house farm tractors, irrigation pumps, harvesters, threshers, mechanical dryers, stake trucks, and coconut decorticating machines., which may be used for the target.
“We will help reduce the cost of production and help sell agro and marine products at better prices to ensure profits for our farmers and fisherfolks as incentives to produce more,” he stated.
Through the four upgraded satellite clinics, Bayron stated that the city’s focus in the healthcare sector will be more on preventive than curative medicine.
Once completed, the city health complex in the heart of the city will serve as the primary diagnostic facility with chemo-dialysis capabilities.
Along with the regular Pista Y ang Kagueban, Love Affair with Nature, and other environmental activities, the expansion of urban forestry programs like the Balayong People’s Park will also be undertaken.
“To save the bays, we will establish more waste water treatment plant, relocate coastal-dwelling families, reclaim the vacated coastal areas, construct drainage systems and conduct regular coastal cleanup,” Bayron said.
He also mentioned the establishment of more police stations in rural barangays, the installation of more CCTV cameras and modern traffic light systems in the población area, and the construction of three-story school buildings. Strengthen the daycare program by hiring more qualified teachers, building more standard daycare buildings, and converting the city library into an e-library.
He also stated that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) MIMAROPA regional office is currently preparing an updated work program for the Puerto Princesa viaduct project, which will be forwarded to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for approval once completed.
Community Christmas Tree
Going to the main event of the night, Bayron recalled that for the last 30 years, the city government has been conducting the Community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony to signal the start of the holiday celebrations that include the feast day of the city’s patron saint – the Immaculate Conception, Christmas Season and New Year.
“Ang pagdiriwang na ito, bukod sa pagsasaya at pagbabalik-tanaw sa nakaraan, ay panahon din ng pagtanaw ng hinaharap.” He said.
“May this Christmas Tree serve as a reminder for all of us that the true essence of Christmas, the birth of our savior made way for the forgiveness of our sins and for us to be saved with the hope of eternal life. May all the experiences we went through also serve as our guiding light as we welcome the new year,” he added.
He also called for unity in the coming year, to work as a team and strive harder for a better 2023.
“Samahan Ninyo akong pasalamatan una sa lahat ang Panginoong Diyos sa patuloy niyang pagpatnubay at pagpapala sa ating lungsod. Pasalamatan din natin siya sa pagkakaloob niya ng naturally beautiful city, napakayamang lungsod, hindi lamang sa natural resources, kundi pati sa marine and terrestrial biodiversity,” he concluded.