Toledo City in midwestern Cebu joins the growing list of towns and cities in the Province with reopened tourism industry.
Known for its natural rock formations, the city has been a favorite destination for rock climbers and enthusiasts, particularly the popular rugged cliff in Barangay Cantabaco.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia led the Provincial Tourism Task Force in reopening the city’s tourism activities in a ceremony Thursday, November 19 hosted by Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC).
Toledo City Mayor Marjorie "Joie" Piczon-Perales thanked Garcia for leading the opening and announced boosting the city’s tourism prospects in the sectors of mining and power.
She said tourists can now visit not just natural and heritage sites but solar farms as well in Barangay Calong-Calong and the copper mining museum in Barangay Don Andres Soriano (formerly Lutopan).
Garcia emphasized that the revival of the Province’s tourism industry aims to help Cebuanos move on with their lives and livelihoods and learn to live with Covid-19 as part of the new reality.
"We have to flatten the fear of Covid-19, revive our ravaged economy, and move forward. I declare tourism in Toledo City open," she said in her speech addressed to the tourism stakeholders in Toledo City.
The governor pointed out that "we have to pick up the pieces of our lives and deal with Covid-19. We manage it in a way that, first of all, we have to protect ourselves.”
Boost immune system
Garcia encouraged the public to boost the immune system and use available technologies that can help protect it.
"Boost your immune system. I'm glad nga gi-reinforce ni ni Dr. Bernadas. Drink your vitamins - kon mahimo from A to Zinc, get enough rest. Mag-tuob (steam inhalation therapy), drink calamansi juice or turmeric,” she said.
“Use available science and technology, such as personal air purifiers. Kining akong gigamit since February produces around 2.5 million negative ions that latch on to pollens and dust. Kaluoy sa Ginoo arang-arang gyud nga duna ko ani," she added.
Department of Health 7 (DOH) Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas underscored that people have to accept that Covid-19 will stay with us.
"We have to learn to live with it, but not get it," he said as he reiterated the health regimen to boost the immune system which is also emphasized in the governor's Executive Order No. 20-A.
"Balance your diet, eat fresh vegetables and fruits, drink fruit juices, help your body combat foreign bodies including Covid-19,” he said.
Bernadas assured that the DOH will continue to help the public fight the coronavirus disease.
“We at DOH are your partners in health. We help temper that fear and temper sa mga problema mahitungod niining Covid-19. Primarily, we are promoting education as the foundation nga dapat kitang tanan masayod unsa ang Covid-19 ug unsaon pag-away niini ug dili kita manago," he further stated.
Countryside economic development
Tamano said that the reopening of tourism is attuned to the objectives of the United Nations World Tourism Organization which is on the development of rural tourism.
This also coincides with the Capitol’s roadmap to economic recovery which includes the Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD) aimed to reinvigorate organic farming and food production.
Garcia emphasized that the government cannot sustain the cost of further lockdowns or restrictions on the economy, thus farms and livestock production in the rural areas have to be developed.
The ECD program also aims to decongest urban centers where people from the Province flock to earn a living.
From a growing six percent during the pre-Covid times, Department of Trade and Industry 7 Assistant Secretary Asteria "Aster" Caberte said that the economy plunged to negative 26 percent when lockdowns were imposed as a government response to the health crisis.
"Tighaya gyud ang negosyo, 35 percent nag-close. Pero with the reopening of businesses down to six percent na so dako nga improvement," Caberte said.
She also lauded Province's "Sugbo Negosyo" program on the reboot and start-up of microenterprises which is the “only one of its kind in the country.”
"Ang P100 million nga assistance to micro-entrepreneurs is like a food supplement to the economy. Ang ako lang hangyo sa mga maka-benefit ani nga program labi na ang existing microenterprises nga to recreate the jobs to people who lost them. Pabalikon tong inyong mga workers nga na-displace so as to save jobs," Caberte called on.
After the opening ceremony, Garcia and the rest of the guests took a museum tour led by CCC President Gen. Roy Deveraturda and Capitol Consultant on Culture and Heritage Dr. Jojo Bersales.
Also present were Provincial Board Members Jimbo Borgonia and Glenn Soco, and representatives of government line agencies. (Eleanor Valeros)