Reopening of Cordova tourism to uplift livelihoods saw the support of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan and Consolacion Mayor Johannes "Joy-joy" Alegado of the sixth district of Cebu Province.
Lapu-Lapu City is independent from the political jurisdiction of the Cebu Provincial Government, yet, Chan is among local chief executives who are supportive of the relaunch of tourism. He said that Cordova and Lapu-Lapu are one, “being in one island, one Cebu island, and are partners in recovery, sharing the same goal of promoting tourism as a key economic driver."
Tourism activities sustain livelihoods, thus the Cebu Provincial Government with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia at the helm led the resuscitation of livelihood opportunities in Cordova in a ceremonial opening Sunday, August 30.
Even on a Sunday, aided with a walker, and despite huge waves and winds blowing vigorously, the governor, armed with her dynamism and tenacity, traveled to Nalusuan Island to live up to the call of making localities more conducive to the communal healing process amid ongoing threats of Covid-19.
"Excited ko sa roller-coaster ride," Garcia said, assuring she was fit to get to Nalusuan. Indeed, she tackled the high seas and with the composure of a seasoned seafarer, patient and determined in settling to the boardwalk.
"Di mahimong di ko mopadayon sa Nalusuan. Kay na-postpone na ra ba ni. Adto pa unta ning August 21. Nya under MGCQ mahimo na tang mag-relaunch sa atong tourism activities nga lifeblood ni’s atong ekonomiya, naghatag og panginabuhi, nagbutang og pagkaon sa lamesa," Garcia pointed out.
"Lisod ang akong kabutang. Apan kon kinabuhi na lang akong panalipdan unya gutom na ang giabtan sa daghang pamilya, kinahanglan gyud nakong balansehon. Busa atong giablihan ang turismo labi na nga nasayud ko nga sa nakalabayng katuigan 55 percent sa tourist arrival sa Sugbo moanhi. Tourism is life, labi na natong mga Sugbuanon. Pero kining atong pag relaunch open ni alang lang usa natong mga Sugbuanon. Cebuanos helping Cebuanos," she added.
Cordova Mayor Maria Theresa "Teché" Sitoy-Cho welcomed the governor and guests to Cordova and expressed how prepared they already are with a "better normal" setup in carrying out tourism packages.
"Motuman lang gyud ta kay mao man ni atong mandatory health protocols. Mag-face mask ta, mag-observe ta'g physical distancing. Ready na man ta ani. Ready na ta sa pagkayab pa, Cordova," Sitoy-Cho said.
Moreover, Secretary Adelino "Addy" Sitoy, Presidential Adviser on Legislative Affairs and head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, in a recorded message asked support from the governor on a 250-hectare reclamation project seen to accommodate cruise ships to Cordova.
"Ang 50 hectares sa atong ro-ro (roll-on, roll-off) port kay alang na sa cruise ships nga modunggo puhon magdala og mga bisita, samtang ang 200 hectares for tourism development," Sitoy said.
As for motorbanca certificate and permits, Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Circular No. 724-2020 issued a provisional extension for motorbanca permits engaged in tourism activities up until November 15 of this year, Marina 7 spokesperson Atty. Jose Cabatingan said.
"There are 120 motorbancas, 11 licenses per banca, 230 licenses for boat captain, 230 licenses for motorman, with these duly registered ang mga motorbancas sa Cordova," Cabatingan pointed out.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 Executive Director Atty. Paquito Melicor Jr. reminded tourism operators and other stakeholders that the foundation of tourism is precisely the environment.
"Tungod sa kinaiyahan mao ni nga duna kita'y tourism activities. Pero kon unsaon ang pag-sustain nga environmentally sound ang activities mao ni ang atong challenge," he added.
DENR 7 Director Lormelyn Claudio pointed out that reopening of tourism as a source of liveliood faces certain restrictions in consonance with the call to "make localities conducive to the healing process."
"We are here to help assess operators to be more compliant to the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and other pertinent environmental acts," Claudio added. (Eleanor Valeros)