Marcos wants more airports, infrastructure for tourism

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is looking into “immediately” improving accessibility to the hidden wonders in the Philippines as the government pushes toward the resurgence of the tourism industry.

“We (must) consider immediately, necessary… we must improve the accessibility of all of these places (tourist attractions), to have direct access to smaller airports, not necessarily the big airports of Manila, of Cebu, of Cagayan de Oro, of General Santos,” Marcos said in his speech during the Philippine Tourism Industry Convergence Reception in Pasay City on Monday.

“And we must provide infrastructure to develop that access, the infrastructure to develop that area,” he added.

The Chief Executive is confident that with the post-pandemic initiatives of the Department of Tourism, under the leadership of Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco, and the Filipino workforce, the Marcos administration will be able to revitalize the country’s tourism industry following the pandemic lockdowns.

“We will always come back to our greatest asset, and the greatest asset that we have in the Philippines is the 107 million Filipinos who are a young, well-trained workforce, kind people, hospitable people, gracious people you will find anywhere in the world,” he stressed.

He also noted that Filipinos are “so fortunate” to have been born in a “very beautiful country” like the Philippines, saying: “This is something we can show to the world.”

“We will do all the publicity and welcome friends from all over the world,” he said.

Considering these advantages, Marcos said his administration will be able to “reintroduce” the Philippines to the rest of the world.

“This is the Philippines, this is the Filipino. And again, as I said, I am confident because I have said this many, many times, that there is no warmer, more poignant sight than the smile of a Filipino. That is something that we can introduce to the world,” he said.

Regenerating tourism, Marcos believes, will also contribute to the overall economic recovery of the country and create more employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the tourism secretary reported that the country received 1.767 million international arrivals.

“(This) exceeds the 1.7 million visitors projected prior to June 2022,” she noted in her speech.

She also announced that DoT will launch a helpline exclusively for tourists.

“They will now have a number they can call should any untoward incident occur,” she said.

Water department pushed

Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. reiterated his call for Congress to pass a law establishing the Department of Water Resources.

In a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary, Marcos renewed his push for the agency to set policies and implement structural reforms on water management that will address various issues, particularly on the “critical” fresh water supply in the country.

OPS said Marcos made the remark in a meeting with top officials from Isabela province where they discussed several programs to address agricultural challenges in the province and the whole Cagayan Valley.

Housing program

In another development, Marcos Jr.’s six-year housing program would generate around 1.7 million jobs per year, Malacañang said.

The Office of the Press Secretary said the Marcos administration’s Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino: Zero ISF 2028 Program will not only provide shelter but employment as well.

“It is projected to have direct and indirect jobs in the sector, especially in areas where mid-rise to high-rise units will be built,” Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar said.

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