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943236_10200828732272868_1760907506_n - Panglao Mayor Nila Montero Vows to Institute Tourism Reforms - Philippine Business News
New Panglao Mayor vows to institute tourism reforms
By Mike Ortega Ligalig
The Bohol Chronicle, June 30, 2013 (page 23)

PANGLAO,BOHOL - Newly elected Panglao Mayor Nila Paredes-Montero has vowed to nurture the island’s natural resources and protect tourism from abuse and mismanagement as she rallied her constituents, tourism stakeholders, and investors to help her incoming administration institute the much needed reforms here after decades of poor governance.

“Our strength is in tourism, therefore we have to ensure that our environment is not being sacrificed in the altar of development,” Montero said during her inaugural address attended by the “Who’s Who of Bohol Politics,” including tourism bigwigs in Panglao composed of foreign residents and investors.

The oath-taking of all new Panglao officials, including Vice-Mayor Pedro Fuertes, was also attended by thousands of Panglao residents who relished an all-night revelry, entertainment, food galore, including a feast of everything beautiful in Panglao Island.

The first ever lady mayor of this island town stressed yesterday that tourism, as engine of economic growth and source of people’s income, must be nurtured by all members of the society.

“Atong ampingan ug panggaon ang Panglao kay nia dinhi ang atong panginabuhian,” she said in a generously applauded inaugural speech.

In an impromptu public talk emblazoned with a gallery of pictures shown on a Powerpoint presentation, the new mayor, who sealed her oath-of-office before Judge Sisinio Virtudazo, showed the two sides of Panglao’s face: the beautiful and the ugly.

Citing tourism, agriculture and human resources as the core of the town’s strength, Montero however admitted: “We cannot deny the fact that we have existing problems that continue to hamper our growth and development.”

Foremost is the town’s perennial water problem which for years continues to elude solution.

“We need to sit down and talk about solutions to our decades-old water problem,” Montero told an inspired crowd. “We have to employ short-term and long-term solutions to our water crisis and we need help from the Provincial Government and from the experts.”

Montero said that it is rather ironic that while the town is enjoying an amazing reputation as a world-class tourism destination, many of the island residents are living the agony of lack of water supply.

Another concern that Montero wanted to address immediately is the town’s garbage collection and waste disposal system, which she had described as a “clear and present danger.”

In a collage of bleak images, mountains of garbage were shown as uncollected, posing threats to human health aside from the fact that it has become an eyesore to tourists and residents.

“We have to act now and follow what the law says, in pursuance to Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” Montero said, adding that environmental laws regarding waste segregation should be implemented so as not to ruin the town’s tourism potentials.

The neglected public market of Panglao was also shown in its gloomy, despicable mood, and the new Panglao Mayor vowed she would “overhaul” the image of the public market that would “truly reflect the beauty of Panglao. “

She said she would also transform the public market into an economic powerhouse in which all sectors of society would be enticed to buy and sell in the town’s only public market.

Montero, also owner of Alona Tropical Beach Resort, also said that she would also overhaul the image of the municipal hall, making it a mirror of the island’s beauty and strength.

“If we want to be respected by our visitors, we have to make our municipal hall decent and respectable even as we make our offices truly efficient and productive,” the new mayor said.

Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, for his part, said he would closely work with the new administration to ensure that the town’s tourism would reach its maximum potentials and strengthen the economy of Bohol.

Chatto said that the soon-to-rise Bohol International Airport in Panglao would rev up economic activities in the island, and that officials and residents of the town must be able to handle the speed of economic growth and tourism boom.

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