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Guimaras emerges as multi-awarded province in WV Tourism Assembly

November 4, 2006

By JUDY D. BULQUIREN
Panay News, Nov. 4, 2006

ILOILO City – Rising above the challenges of the oil spill calamity, the Province of Guimaras still emerged as the most awarded local government unit (LGU) in the recent Tourism Excellence Award during the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly last October 23-29, 2006.

The awards Guimaras received were: Best Tourism Oriented LGU, the Lifetime Achievement Award won by Henry Babiera , the KAMADO Regional Director Award (Guisi Community Based Heritage Tourism Project), Best Tourism Emerging Destination and Best Barangay Tourism Council (Brgy. Dolores in Nueva Valencia, and barangays Salvacion and Tastasan in Buenavista) and the Best WV Tourism Officer Provincial Category won by Angeles E. Gabinete.

Guimaras Gov. J.C. Rahman A. Nava happily congratulated the Guimaras stakeholders and was very glad that the area-specific tourism masterplan was integrated with the 30-year Provincial Comprehensive Land Use Plan and AgriTourism as its tourism image being set.

This year’s theme ” Sustaining Domestic Tourism:Turning Ideas into Action ” aims to promote opportunities to showcase the different cultural heritage, tourist destinations, events and products of the provinces in Western Visayas (Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental) in the local, national and international markets.

Aside from the Tourism Excellence Award, the other activities at the Western Visayas Tourism assembly were: Tourism congress, parade of festivals, destination booth showcase, trade exhibits, food festivals, travel exchange and the Search for WV Miss Tourism won by Panaad of Negros Occidental and the province of Aklan as the first runner–up.

“Tourism development is everybody’s concern, it must be a shared responsibility, shared vision and benefits for all. It must be community based” said Department of Tourism undersecretary Oscar Palabyab during the opening program.

Guimaras spill a precedent for IOPC

In Guimaras, meanwhile, the approval in principle of the siphoning of the remaining oil from the sunken MT Solar I that would cost between eight to 10 million dollars, established a precedent for the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) fund, according to Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas, Secretary Rafael Coscolluela.

Even the IOPC assembly which was held last October 23 said the Philippine case established a precedent because IOPC was most proactive this time and that they were working closely with those affected which made things move faster.

The Presidential Assistant said it was the first time that the IOPC agreed to compensate even before the claim was made because they saw conditions firsthand. Coscolluela said it was very necessary to get IOPC’s approval before the siphoning so that we would not suffer the same fate as Spain.

In the case of Spain, they conducted recovery operations before IOPC gave its approval and after studying the matter, they disapproved the claim, where Spain already spent several millions of dollars.

It was also decided during the IOPC meeting, Coscolluela said that the siphoning would start in January, considering the weather, technical, legal and other considerations.

Besides, the IOPC said there is no immediate threat, but only a matter of time.

The first part would consist of the mobilization which would involved the making of a detailed work program, putting together personnel and resources which would take from 30 to 45 days, which the actual operations would take about 30 days. (with press release)

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