Posted on November 12, 2014 11:07:00 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
AYALA LAND, INC. (ALI) cleared a major hurdle to its plan to convert Sicogon Island in Iloilo province into an eco-tourism destination after it settled its long-standing dispute with the farmers and fisherfolk there.
In a press statement released on Wednesday, the property giant said it signed a compromise and framework agreement on Nov. 8 with the Federation of Sicogon Island Farmers and Fisherfolk Association, as well as with the Sicogon Development Corp. (SIDECO).
By the first quarter of 2015, Ayala Land will begin building an airport and a jetty port to improve access to the island.
“The development is also seen to improve economies and land use through tourism, and is consistent with the government’s thrust to alleviate poverty,” the statement read.
At least 25,000 local jobs are expected to be generated from the project, which will be a joint venture between Ayala Land and SIDECO.
Residents will be relocated to resettlement sites that will be provided by Ayala Land and SIDECO.
Ayala Land has also begun implementing livelihood and training programs for the locals.
“We are glad that all the stakeholders have come to an agreement regarding development of the island,” Maria Corazon Dizon, vice-president and head of ALI Capital, was quoted in the statement as saying.
The agreement was signed exactly a year after super-typhoon Yolanda hit the country. -- Daphne J. Magturo