Iloilo Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Ildefonso Toledo identified the top three priorities of the P 13.5 million budget allocated for agriculture through his office in the newly approved 2010 provincial government budget.
Dr. Toledo said agriculture budget has been incorporated with the total P 1, 691,947,516.55 allocation for the annual investment program of the Iloilo provincial government approved by the provincial board on Tuesday afternoon, August 24.
He said their budget will be utilized to further bolster rice production, the major commodity of Iloilo province, repair and rehabilitation of the small scale irrigation systems, and for the coastal resource management.
Dr. Toledo believes the big budget given to his office is a good indication that the present administration of Gov. Arthur Defensor, Sr. is really giving priority to agriculture.
The governor intends to recapture the former record of Iloilo as the top rice producing province in the country and so he would like to give agriculture a priority.
Boracay Stakeholders Mount Massive
Owners of hotels and restaurants in Boracay Island are planning to hold massive promotional sorties as a way to cushion the impact of the hostage taking incident last Monday, August 23 that resulted to several tourist casualties.
Tourism regional director Edwin Trompeta said the promotional sorties will be different from the missions that will be launched by travel trades and private groups from Metro Manila.
Boracay Island is now feeling the impact of the incident as manifested by several canceled bookings after a number of countries issued travel advisories following the incident.
The Department of Tourism (DOT), Iloilo City has already monitored cancellation of bookings in Boracay which to date has amounted to P7.439 million in lost revenues.
The cancellation was only on hotel bookings not counting other spending tourists would have in the island which may amount to some P20,000 to P30,000 each.
The bookings are for the period August 28 to September 6 by 351 individuals.
Trompeta hopes that what is happening now will just be temporary, as he cited the continued travel advisory will have a great impact because China and Hong Kong comprised some five to 10 percent of the tourist arrivals in Boracay.
From January to June this year, Trompeta said some 5,000 tourists from Hong Kong and 20,000 from mainland China have visited Boracay.
Meanwhile, Trompeta led the DOT family Thursday morning August 26 as they offered flowers and prayers, lighted candles and incense as their way of showing sympathy to families of those who were killed on Monday’s hostage taking in Manila.
Trompeta said they would like to project to the whole world that "they abhor what happened" even as they also fervently hope for its fast resolution.
"That was something we have never desired and never wished it happened. Not only because they are tourists but they are human beings and anybody who is subjected to such an indignity is something that we do not tolerate. We would like the world to know that in here we sympathize with them," he said. /MP