Presidential candidate Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has vowed to help the tourism industry bounce back from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic under his administration.
Lacson gave this commitment, Monday, April 4 during his visit to the Odiongan Municipal Tourism Office in the island province of Romblon, alongside his running mate Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and their senatorial candidate Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol.
Speaking to reporters representing Romblon-based media outlets, Lacson connected his plans to develop tourism areas nationwide with his flagship Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) program
“That (BRAVE) is what we need, kasi hindi na-di-distribute ‘yung resources ng government, naiipon lagi sa national (because the resources of government are not being distributed properly, but are stored at the national level),” Lacson said.
According to Lacson, through the judicious spending of the national budget and its equitable distribution to local government units, no domestic industries would be left behind. Most residents in areas identified as tourism zones rely on the influx of local and foreign tourists for their livelihood.
In the capital town of Romblon, there were local restaurants shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic due to lack of patrons, who are mostly visitors from Manila or travelers from abroad. Some fortunately survived and are in the process of bringing their business operations back to pre-pandemic levels.
“What I can offer sa Romblon the same what I will offer the other far-flung, mga isolated na mga municipalities and provinces na laging umaasa na lang sa—namamalimos sa national government pagdating ng mga projects (What I can offer to Romblon is the same as what I will offer to the other far-flung, isolated municipalities and provinces that are always depending, almost to the point of begging, our national government when it comes to projects),’’ he said.
Lacson also reiterated his position in favor of responsible mining to protect the natural beauty of our environment such as in Sibuyan Island, which, according to some reporters, is frequently targeted by mining companies and operators.
Sibuyan has been dubbed by many local and international natural scientists as the "Galapagos of Asia" due to its unmolested ecosystem and rich biodiversity of plant and animal life, which are constantly under threat from mining activities.
As far as Lacson is concerned, an "executive privilege" cannot be invoked by any mining firm to justify plans to conduct mineral extractions whether large- or small-scale in a particular protected area.
“Marami dapat makinabang sa mga mining operations kung maayos ‘yung paggawa hindi na-da-damage ‘yung environment and yet, in terms of revenues makikinabang ‘yung mga tao, ‘di ba? Ganoon dapat (There are lots of sectors who should be benefiting from mining operations, if they are done correctly without damaging our environment, and yet, in terms of revenues, it’s the people who should be gaining, right? That’s how it’s supposed to be),’’ he explained.
“So, ‘pag ang mga isyung ‘yan hindi pwedeng... (when it comes to those issues, I don’t think...) Walang (There’s no) executive privilege. Mining? Ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng (It’s my first time to hear about a so-called) mining executive privilege,” he added.