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Southern Leyte pushes for more sustainable development projects

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By Marie Marticio

MAASIN CITY – The provincial government here pushes for more sustainable development projects with its Tourism, Environment and Agriculture (TEA) Summit on Tuesday held in this city.

Southern Leyte holds Tourism, Environment and Agriculture TEA Summit (Marticio/ Manila Bulletin)

Southern Leyte holds Tourism, Environment and Agriculture TEA Summit (Marticio/ Manila Bulletin)

The summit is an initiative of the office of the lone district representative of Southern Leyte in support of their Local Development Investment Program for 2018-2022, which was already endorsed by the Regional Development Council on June 8.

Rep. Roger Mercado disclosed that numerous projects will be presented to different line agencies represented by secretaries, assistant secretaries and regional directors.

“Hopefully we can make a manifesto of support for all our projects. There will be follow-up conferences that will focus on each department,” he shared.

The official expressed optimism that their plans will be materialized with the support of President Rodrigo Duterte who pointed out Iloilo province’s major problem, which is connectivity due to lack of airports and seaports during his visit on their 58th founding anniversary.

The president urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to accelerate its infrastructure development to attract more tourists in the province.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who was also present during the event announced various projects that would lead to historical and tourism sites in the province in Limasawa Island, Padre Burgos, Panaon and Sogod.

Mercado added that they also intend to construct the bridge linking the province to Bohol and Surigao.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 9 director Karen Tiopes who represented Secretary Bernadette Puyat underscored the importance of promoting awareness, enhancing human resource capacity, expanding income opportunities and reducing inequality among stakeholders as part of the inclusive growth of the tourism industry.

In terms of environment protection, DENR Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr. maintained that the summit is a good forum for resolving issues in farm tourism and discussing environment programs in the province.

Southern Leyte is known for the success of their “One Man, One Tree” campaign wherein it has helped curtail the destructive force of flooding during rainy season.

The province is also aggressively pushing for programs on enhancing rice, corn and cassava production to cater to its growing consumers and population aside from coconut and abaca production.

Lastly, Mercado expressed the province’ readiness for all the development strategies that they have prepared for the next four years. The province needs approximately P13 billion to support all its projects for tourism, environment and agriculture development.

“We will keep on pursuing these projects. Ultimately we will be ready because all these developments will be gradual, and by the time that everything is in place we will be ready,” he said.

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