Governor Jose Alvarez said Wednesday in a live press briefing that the provincial government is pushing for the “gradual” re-opening of tourism activities in Palawan in the last quarter of the year to jumpstart its economic recovery.
Gov. Alvarez said if he will be asked, he will “induce” gradual tourism re-opening in San Vicente, El Nido, and Coron before the end of the year to give business owners the chance to recoup losses and pay their loans.
He said gradual operation does not immediately mean an influx of tourists since they themselves are still afraid to travel. Tourist entry will also be limited by the flights coming in, especially in El Nido where only Airswift by Ayala is serving the route for now.
“When we say kailan natin buksan ang San Vicente, ang El Nido, at saka ang Coron, buksan na natin yan dahan-dahan, padatingin na natin in such a way we have to live under new normal,” he said.
“In relation to the opening of the tourism sector, if you ask me, I would like to induce the opening of all tourism sector, although gradually… and we will assimilate slowly yong new normal na takda ng DOH at takda ng IATF. This last quarter, we will start to open up,” Gov. Alvarez added.
He reiterated for Palaweños not to be afraid of COVID-19, and this can be done by being fully aware of what it is and following health protocols to avoid being infected.
Like Boracay, which has opened, the three towns of Coron, San Vicente, and El Nido, should already slowly open up as destinations under new normal by strictly following health protocols.
“Ako mismo nagsasabi na huwag kayong matakot sa COVID. We have to live with COVID kasi kung puro lang tayo takot sa COVID, cover lang tayo ng cover… walang ekonomiya, patay tayong lahat sa gutom. Kapag hindi [tayo gumawa para sa] ekonomiya, wala kang activity, wala ka rin revenue, wala kang income. Papaano naman yong mga umutang ng pera sa bangko? Yong mga hotel na yan,” he said.
He said that somehow, although the pandemic is already six months, Palawan has to start its economic recovery.