P11B worth of infra projects delivered in Eastern Visayas

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) completed P11 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the Eastern Visayas Region last year, including roads, bridges, and flood-control structures. In a statement on Wednesday, the department said it delivered P6.5 billion worth of national road projects covering 311.5 kilometers, 12 bridges at a cost of P1.2 billion, and 99 flood-control structures  worth P3.3 billion. The funds were sourced from the 2020 national budget. “I would like to commend our Regional and District Engineering Offices nationwide for the timely delivery of these infrastructure projects that will be the main player in our country’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” said DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar, noting that the construction works were undertaken amid the pandemic-related restrictions. DPWH also reported that it assisted in the completion of 328 local infrastructure projects amounting to P3.9 billion, including multi-purpose and school buildings, and water systems, among others. DPWH also finished several projects under partnership programs with other departments such as roads for tourism sites, industrial corridors, and farm-to-market access.

Tourism dep’t appeals for responsible travel after another case of fake COVID test results

THE Tourism department has reiterated its call for local travelers to abide by requirements and health protocols to help the battered industry recover without compromising public health. The department issued the appeal Wednesday after another group of six visitors in Boracay presented fake RT-PCR test results, three of whom turned out positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The agency also reminded tourists that non-compliance to protocols would mean penalties, including possible imprisonment. “The Department of Tourism (DoT) appeals to travelers to stop forging and faking travel documents, or else face fines and proper criminal charges from the local government units (LGUs), which may include the penalty of imprisonment,” it said. To boost the industry and encourage more domestic tourists, the DoT has launched a program for subsidized RT-PCR tests, available at the University of the Philippines–Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and the Philippine Children’s Medical Hospital (PCMC), at cash-out rates of P900 and Php750, respectively. The DoT also assured that its Boracay unit is working closely with the municipal government of Malay for contact tracing and monitoring of the violators who are currently quarantined at the Aklan Training Center.

Laguna prepares ‘green corridor’ for tourists

THE SAMPALOC Lake, one of seven and the widest crater lake in San Pablo City, is among the sites in the Laguna green corridor where visitors can walk, cycle, or simply enjoy the view. — DENR-CALABARZON

LAGUNA province will launch a “green corridor” for tourists in April, featuring nature and cultural destinations in different towns. “The creation of travel corridors has been a key component in the resumption of tourism in some of the country’s destinations. We are confident that the same principle can be applied in Laguna,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during a stakeholders’ meeting on Feb. 2. The planned corridor covers Dona Leonila Park at Sampaloc Lake and Casa San Pablo in San Pablo City, TANAW Park in Rizal, the Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan, and the town of Liliw known for its slippers industry. “Laguna is blessed to have many open-air, nature and culture-based tourism products that Filipinos would like to experience when traveling amidst the pandemic. And best of all, Laguna can be accessed quickly and conveniently from Metro Manila through land travel, which is the most ideal way for Filipinos to travel in the current situation. There is great potential for the tourism sector in this province to rebound and recover,” Ms. Puyat said.

The program will use digital applications to monitor and inform visitors on the availability of each site based on carrying capacity as well as provide QR-coded cards to tourists for registration and cashless transactions. “This flagship domestic tourism program aims to spur the recovery and transition of the Laguna Tourism Cluster into the new normal,” the tourism chief said. The Laguna corridor is part of the Department of Tourism-Region 4A’s GREEN Corridor Initiative that is intended to spur the local industry with focus on farm tourism, food, nature, and outdoor activities. — MSJ