Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan have asked provincial government offices for an assessment of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the province, including their recommended recovery plans.

The moved followed a privilege speech delivered by David Francis Ponce de Leon who called in particular on the Provincial Tourism Office and the Palawan Tourism Council to identify solutions for the post-COVID-19 recovery of the province’s tourism industry.

Ponce de Leon said the sector has been calling for help from the provincial government to help them recover from the financial setbacks caused by the pandemic

“They are asking for our help on how to jumpstart the tourism industry dahil alam naman natin na talagang tinamaan tayo COVID-19 sa Palawan as a tourist destination,” Ponce de Leon said.

He cited, in particular, the leases of tourism establishments that have burdened them because of their closure during the lockdown period.

“One of the specific problems that we need to address ay kung papaano ang mga naka-lease na establishments in Coron, El Nido, and San Vicente kasi sila ay pinapabayad ng upa kahit walang operation ng three to four months. ‘Yon ang dapat ma-address natin,” he said.

Board member Ryan Maminta also asked the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), and the Palawan Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) to provide them damage reports caused by COVID-19, including proposed recovery plans.

“The PDRRMO and IATF should have a damage assessment report due to COVID-19. [Yong] PPDO regarding the anticipatory recovery plan not only in tourism but also in agriculture and socioeconomic aspect. Some of the provinces are starting to craft their recovery plans for the next few months for the new normal,” he said.

The Council has invited the relevant offices in their hearing next week.