Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson lauded the efforts of the Cebu Provincial Government under the leadership of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in reviving the economy crushed by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In his courtesy call Thursday, January 28, Robinson expressed that he is impressed with the governor’s stand on focusing on reviving the economy by opening up the tourism industry.
Garcia said the Province is open for business since the tourism was reopened.
She also acknowledged the fact that Covid-19 will remain and emphasized that it is just a matter of managing the disease.
Since August 2020, Garcia started the gradual reopening of Cebu’s tourism industry, one of the main economic drivers of the Province.
She issued a series of executive orders that lay down the protocols and guidelines to be followed to ensure the safety of tourists, tourism establishment owners, workers, and others.
“You are completely speaking my language because that’s exactly how we’ve been running our embassy and that’s how we’ve been approaching the virus because you have to live with it and get on with it,” Robinson said.
The Province of Cebu is the first province that Robinson visited after the lockdown in Manila.
The ambassador thanked the governor for Cebu’s help after 2,309 Australian nationals were able to return to Australia when Covid-19 broke out.
“I wanted to express our appreciation for all your assistance when we are moving Australians back to Australia during the beginning of the pandemic. That was really tremendous,” he said.
“Cebu was really instrumental in helping us get our people back. We couldn’t have done it without the Provincial Government’s support,” he added.
Robinson informed the governor that Australia is aiming for stronger ties between the Philippines. Cebu can benefit out of it in terms of projects and development.
The ambassador said they see opportunities for the Cebuanos through the different Australian companies based in the Province, one of which is the Austal Philippines, a shipbuilding company located in Balamban.
Austal will build six patrol vessels and about 750 to 1000 employees will be hired, he added. (Mylen Manto)