Mayor Isko vows to back Cebu’s tourism industry, praises Gov. Gwen’s ‘Sugbo Negosyo’ initiative
CEBU, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Sunday vowed to support and promote the tourism industry in Cebu, which had been a favorite destination of foreigners before the pandemic.
“Tourism has a very high 25 times multiplier effect in creating jobs, and most of the tourism industry workers are young people,” Moreno told some 300 employees and families of the Cebu Safari and Adventure Park.
Moreno was accompanied by Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia of the 3rd District of Cebu during his visit to the Cebu Safari & Adventure Park, the premier Safari park in the country located in Carmen town, northern Cebu. It serves as a sanctuary for hundreds of different species of plants and animals from 120 different species.
The tourism industry in Cebu contributed 35 percent or 2.86 million of the 8.6 million foreign tourists who visited the Philippines in 2019. Because of this, the province can be aptly called the “Tourist Capital of the Philippines.”
Moreno said the only way for the economy recover would be for the 70 percent of the population to be fully vaccinated.
“If the economy gets fully opened, the tourism industry will follow suit,” he said.
“Pag bukas ng turismo, makakabangon ang mga negosyo. At pag magbukasan muli ang mga negosyo, magkakaroon ng maraming trabaho. At yan ang gusto ko, magkatrabaho muli ang mga kababayan nating nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya,” Moreno said.
(When tourism industry opens, then the businesses will recover. And when the businesses will open, there will be more work. And that is what I want, for our fellow Filipinos, who lost their work during the pandemic, to have jobs again.)
Moreno again lauded President Duterte for initiating the three-day National Vaccination Drive aimed at fast-tracking the inoculation of 10 million Filipinos.
“This should be a continuing campaign to make sure that Filipinos can look forward to a really merry Christmas,” he said.
The tourism industry has contributed 12.7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) with about 5.4 million Filipinos getting their livelihood from the industry.
Under Moreno’s Bilis Kilos 10-Point Agenda for Governance, the building of tourism highways and development of tourism circuits will be prioritized along with the promotion of sustainable tourism and event-based tourism.
The Bilis Kilos platform of government will also target a three-fold increase in tourism by 2028, from 8 million foreign tourists in 2019 to 24 million after nine years.
“Cebu has contributed much to the GDP but it seems it has been shortchanged in terms of budget allocation for infrastructure such as bridges that will connect the islands of the Visayas. Cebu deserves a better deal and this will be realized when I become president,” Moreno pointed out.
Five months into the pandemic in August 2020, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia slowly and carefully began opening up tourism in the countryside as many people who depended largely on tourism directly or indirectly were starving.
“What Gov. Gwen did in Cebu can be a model to other local government units especially in those provinces wherein the tourism industry is a major source of livelihood. Buhay at Kabuhayan. Yan po ang aking pinagtuunan ng pansin sa Maynila. Yan din po ang aking prayoridad sa bansa kapag palarin tayo (Life and livelihood. That is what I focused on in Manila. That is also my priority for the country if I will be lucky to be chosen [as president]),” said Moreno.
“Gov. Gwen’s Sugbo Negosyo is a brilliant and doable idea which is similar to what I plan to do when I become president. I would encourage the LGUs (local government units) to help business particularly MSMEs recover and sustain jobs and livelihood,” he said.
Moreno has been invited by the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) to be their guest at the Sugbo Negosyo and Awarding Ceremony at the Cebu Provincial Capitol. His guesting coincides with the Christmas Capitol Light-Up.
Moreno was invited by MCCI president Steven Yu because of the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer’s pronouncement to use the Sugbo Negosyo program as model for the recovery of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs).
“We hope this event will help you better understand the program, and how it has helped reboot the livelihood of the Cebuanos and further improved the local economy,” Yu said in his letter to Mayor Isko dated Nov. 29, 2021.
The first round of the Sugbo Negosyo launched in August 2020 benefited over 8,000 entrepreneurs in the whole of Cebu province
Early this year the Cebu provincial government allotted another P100-million budget for the second round of the Sugbo Negosyo, a program that gives the much-needed capital to small entrepreneurs in the province.
The program had an additional 13 partner-merchants in this year’s rollout of the micro-business assistance program. The new merchants are joining the program on top of the existing 34 that have supported its first rollout last year.
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