ILOILO CITY, July 1 (PNA) –- Two local government units (LGUs) have unanimously passed resolutions supporting the immediate development of Sicogon Island as a tourism landmark destination in the northern part of Iloilo province.
The two LGUs are Carles and Estancia that will directly benefit from the development of Sicogon Island when pushed through. Carles is where the Sicogon island is located and Estancia is the nearby coastal town where the relocatees from Sicogon island who opted to receive housing units and other assistance from the developer Sicogon Development Corporation partnering with Ayala Land, Inc. are now situated.
The Ayala Land, Inc., in the middle of June 2014, initially turned over 150 houses out of the total 350 units in Barangay Jolog, Estancia. It also has allocated more than P100 million for the resettlement site in Barangay Jolog, which will be transformed into a model community for Yolanda survivors.
Carles Mayor Arnold Betita with Vice Mayor Siegfredo Betita and Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Members Merije Tupas, Vicente Barbosa, Olga Golingan, Gere Sarrosa, Fortunato Marcelo, Lina Gregorio, Marlou Lopez and Henry Golingan, in approving Resolution No. 19-2014, cited that the revival of the more than 1,000-hectare tourism haven “is sure to make Sicogon move beyond its past glory” with Ayala Land, Inc. considered the country’s biggest real estate developer.
Carles local officials also said that with the massive eco-tourism development to be undertaken in Sicogon they would provide alternative livelihood opportunities to community folk, who will no longer would rely on fishing alone.
Super typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013 also gravely devastated not only the houses and properties of the Sicogon settlers, but also their fishing activities with their fishing boats washed away or torn into pieces by strong winds.
Meanwhile, Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero and Vice Mayor Rodoel Aclaro, Sr. also batted for the immediate development of the island.
They said that long before the advent of tourism boom in the country in the ’70s, Sicogon island already was known as the playground of the “rich and famous”. The film, Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa”, top-billing 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz and then later Tetchie Agbayani and Ruffa Gutierrez, was shot in Sicogon.
Aclaro and the Estancia SB members in Resolution No. 2014-042 cited that “aside from the pristine white sand beaches, clear blue waters and the wealth of its aquatic resources perfect diving, Sicogon is highlighted by other unique natural features such as the lagoon, Mt. Opao, Tomaquin Island, and 282-hectare protected forest which serves as home to the island’s diverse flora and fauna”.(PNA)