Monday, June 22, 2009 [ manilatimes.net ]
By Al Jacinto, Correspondent
ZAMBOANGA CITY: The local government of Sulu is fast-tracking the renovation of an airport, which is expected to hasten trade and commerce in the province. The renovation, which costs about $3 million, would allow huge planes such as 737s and cargo aircrafts to land safely, said Sulu Governor Sakur Tan. It is expected to be completed by August this year.
Tan said the project, which began last year, is funded by the United States. He added the project was made possible because of President Gloria Arroyo who sought the funding for the rehabilitation of the airport.
The airport’s runway, which was previously 1,800-meters, has been expanded to more than 2,000 meters to accommodate bigger passenger planes not only from Manila and Zamboanga, but from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that make up the East Asia Growth Area, a sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia that included the Philippines.
Tan said President Arroyo pledged more development projects for Sulu.
“The President has promised us more projects for the people,” he said, adding that they are planning to put up an ultra-modern beach resort in Panglima Tahil Island to lure local visitors and tourists.
He said the plan is to build a P50-million resort on the scenic island that would erase the stigma of Sulu as a war-torn province. Tan added they have master plan to develop Panglima Tahil, about 10 kilometers west of the capital town Jolo, and make it a haven for nature-lovers and divers.
Tan noted that tapping the province’s potentials could uplift the economic conditions of its citizens. He said Sulu boasts of pristine beaches, dive sites and trek lands.
“The project is geared to put Sulu in the map as a world-class tourist destination and showcase its natural beauty and promote the beautiful province which has been unfairly tagged by media reports as a troubled island.”
”The establishment of a beach resort on the island will improve the peace and order condition in Sulu because it will bring socioeconomic benefits to the people through job creation and sale of indigenous and local products, thus addressing the high poverty incidence,” Tan said.
The beach resort plan is a complex replete with modern recreational facilities such as water sports, diving activities, court games, and production and sale parks for ethnic ware, jewelry, traditional clothes and handicrafts. It will have its own power and water supply system, according to Tan.
The project also proposes an artisan village, a venue and school for performing arts and modern telecommunications centers. The governor said the resort hotel would have 100 rooms, including function rooms to cater for conferences and seminars and other social activities.
Tan also said that the proposed beach resort would have modern telecommunications systems such as telephones, internet with wi-fi facilities, digital television and satellite communication and other amenities.