At least P500 million will be allocated by the national and city governments to boost Puerto Princesa’s tourism industry in west coast.

Idly known as the “city beach” at Sitio Tagkawayan in Bacungan village, the City Council on Monday revisited the plans to hype the infrastructure and development programs in the area.


Road and infrastructure

Lawyer-councilor Nesario Awat, in his privilege speech, said that the initial P200 million sought from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) may be augmented to the the P500 million from 2021. This, after President Duterte earlier this year ordered massive budget reallocation during the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

“This P200 million did not push through because of COVID-19 and there was a possibility that it will be increased to P500 million after the appropriation from the city tourism office,” Awat said.

Tourism committee chairman, councilor Matthew Mendoza, flagged the unfinished projects within the area that posed danger to the residents.

“Unfornately, marami pang hindi natatapos and may mga tulay na nabubutas. I think ‘yong mga old bridge ‘yon na hindi nila nagawa. Maliban sa tourism delay activities natin doon, medyo dangerous din po sa ating mga commuters,” Mendoza said.

Councilors Patrick Hagedorn and Elgin Damasco said that certain residents have claimed “private rights” on the development of certain areas.

“Nagiging problema yata nila ‘yong ibang area, ayaw yata pumayag. That’s one of the reason kaya na-dedelay ‘yong paggawa ng kalsada sa isang lugar,” Hagedorn said.

“Isa sa mga dahilan bakit hindi matapos-tapos ‘yong pag-semento sa Tagkawayan area ay ‘yong mga private rights. Siguro ipatawag na lang sa City Council para matulungan lahat ma-solve ‘yong problema na ‘yan. Matagal na talaga ‘yan,” Damasco added.


Power supply

City councilor Peter Maristela sought to extend the electric service, which remained powerless in certain areas in Bacungan.

“Ang alam ko dati ay mayroon na sanang proyekto d’yan mula Napsan papuntang Simpocan ngunit hanggan Napsan at Sto. Niño lamang ang nagawa. Kung mamarapatan sana, ‘wag na sana nating hintayin pa ‘yong ating national agency na pondohan kahit hanggang Tagkawayan lamang o kahit hanggang Simpocan lamang o Bagong Bayan,” Maristela said.

Damasco said that PALECO has earlier requested the city government to assist in funding certain electrical extension services, which was subsequently tabled.

“Ang problema ‘di naisama. May kahilingan ang PALECO na suportahan sila sa hinihinging budget na P25 million para ma-connect na ‘yong kuryente from Barangay Napsan to Bacungan. Kaya lang sinasabi ko, hindi pa pupuwedeng ma-isama sa 2021 budget,” Damasco added.


Data connection

Awat also flagged the network provider who had earlier promised to extend the satellite signals in Tagkawayan.

“The promise of those who attended that there will be extension of the satellite of Smart and Globe, but unfortunately in that area we don’t have wifi. We have to call the attention again for the purposes of discussion. Baka meron silang prayoridad,” Awat said.

The city budget amounting to P3.72 billion for 2021 was passed by the Council on November, which was signed by the local chief executive, mayor Lucilo Bayron, this week.


(with a report from Jeshyl Guiroy)