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Opening of more air routes to boost tourism, trade links, says Hagedorn PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2007

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, April 19 (PNA) - Mayor Edward Hagedorn said the expansion of more air linkages which include Puerto Princesa City and Palawan in line with the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) initiative will hasten joint venture cooperation, tourism activities and business travel in the city.

Hagedorn, along with re-electionist Vice Mayor Lucilo Bayron and his 10 City Council aspirants, said this during the “Mayoralty Candidates Forum” attended by more than 100 officials and members of business sector held at the Legend Hotel here on Wednesday.

Hagedorn said the BIMP-EAGA’s approval to have a direct flight between this city and the four member countries will increase air traffic and trade linkages.

During their meeting here early this month, BIMP-EAGA leaders agreed to the grant of Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights that legalizes the facilitation of passengers and cargo services in the airports of Manado and Tarakan in Indonesia; Labuan and Miri in Malaysia; and Puerto Princesa, Palawan and General Santos in the Philippines.

Hagedorn said the planned upgrading and expansion of the city’s existing airport to international standard will further strengthen the role of the city as the commercial center of the province.

Initially, the national government is allocating Php 28 million for the improvement of city's airport terminal.

This will also improve the capability of the city to participate in the EAGA regional trade and tourism, citing that the initiative may result in the borderless econony among the four participating countries.

To strengthen the tourism industry, Hagedorn said the city is currently upgrading its infrastructure facilities.

This covers the concreting of the 32-kilometer road going to Sitio Sabang, the jump-off point going to the famous “Underground River; and the roads connecting the city to northern Palawan, thus providing tourists improved mobility.

Moreover, the local chief executive said that tourism is fast becoming a pillar of the local economy, adding that a total of 146,806 tourists visited the city in 2006, an increase of 12,982 compared to 134, 824 in 2005.

Arrivals in the Underground River also increased to 46,268 tourists last year, the highest recorded so far.

Hagedorn said the city’s tourism industry is on the road to full recovery after the infamous 2001 Abu Sayyaf kidnapping incident in the Dos Palmas island resort.

He said under his leadership, implementation of other city development strategies like governance, peace and order, infrastructure and development project, social services, environment, among others are on the right track and benefited his constituents.

In the forum, Hagedorn spent more time answering issues being thrown to him by mayoralty opponent, retired police general Eduardo Matillano, in the May 14 elections.

He said he is confident of retaining the mayoralty post based on the three surveys conducted.

The forum was initiated by the Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. headed by Armando Lustre, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association, Rotary Club of Puerto Princesa and Palawan Bankers Association. (by Alex Villanueva Jr. PNA)

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