Coron's busy wharf on a clear day. (Photo by CARFormoso)

Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez has bared plans to construct a new international airport and establish a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ferry services in Coron that will link it to nearby provinces.

Governor Alvarez announced his tourism development plan for Coron in a fellowship dinner with members of the business community and officials of the town on March 1.

“If there’s a political will, then we can build that airport…that’s why we are here, primarily for this fellowship dinner para matulungan ninyo po kami. Help us build this tourism enclave in this part of the Philippines,” Alvarez said.

He said whether some sectors will like it or not, the provincial government will build the international airport in the municipality in a bid to make it surpass tourism arrivals in Kota Kinabalu.

Alvarez pointed out that what the provincial government needs is “only” the help of the municipal government and the people of Coron.

Currently, Francisco B. Reyes (FBR) is what the town uses to bring residents and tourists in and out of the municipalities of Coron, Culion, Busuanga, and Linapacan.

Earlier reports said it will soon move to a new location at the Yulo King Ranch in Coron in a 300-hectare land area to cater larger aircraft.

“This airport, whether some sectors like it or not, we will do it. We just need your moral support. If in a discussion, people will try to engage you that this airport is not needed, try to expound very forcefully that we need this airport because Coron is such a beautiful place and a large tourism region together with Busuanga and Culion. This region can surpass the tourist arrivals of Kota Kinabalu,” he stated.

He said the ferry service which will be catered by Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation (APFC), a ferry company which operates as FastCat since 2013 with its catamaran fleet, will connect Coron this year to Mindoro.

The sea link, he said, will fill the transportation needs of the town that imports most product from nearby provinces like Mindoro.

“I noticed that everything is expensive in Coron and I’m happy to announce to you that by August or September, you will be connected to Mindoro. The owner of the RORO FastCat has committed to me,” he said.

Along with the international airport and the ferry services, Alvarez also said the provincial government will be constructing a new hospital, sewerage system, water system, and even covered courts with solar lighting fixtures that can serve as temporary evacuation centers.

He said part of the province’s development plan for the town is also to implement road rehabilitation, set up storm drains, and the restoration of the 50-hectare reclamation area that they plan to turn into a “Tourism Mile.”

“Most establishments have slowly made their way into the reclamation area for tourism activities. Then we will also fix your road, sidewalks, storm drains, and enough leeway for pedestrians,” he also added.

In an interview with Palawan News on Wednesday, mayor Ajerico Barracoso welcomes the province’s development, saying they can help further boost Coron’s tourism industry.

He said the plan to help them with their environmental concerns is also what they need to prevent the discharge of untreated water to Coron Bay.

“Noong nakapag-usap kami ni governor, ‘yan nga ang binalita niya kaya tuwang-tuwa kami kasi makakatulong ang mga ‘yon sa Coron. Actually, airport matagal na ‘yan pinag-uusapan kaya hinihintay rin ‘yan. Talagang masaya tayo, we are thankful na may ganitong development na nakahanda. Ngayon marami ang pumupunta dito, hopefully kapag maayos na lahat mas dumami pa,” Barracoso said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.