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Ecozone exec says ‘Survivor’ brought jobs, funds

Fishermen of Sta. Ana, Cagayan, set fishing nets on wooden poles to catch baby eels. In the background is Palaui, the current location of the hit reality TV series “Survivor.” RICHARD BALONGLONG/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—An official of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) said taping in Palaui Island in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, by the hit reality TV series “Survivor” has been approved by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) after consultations.

In a May 29 letter to the Inquirer, Joyce Jayme, Ceza public relations chief, also denied accusations that the show had displaced residents.

Jayme said the PAMB, a multisectoral body composed of representatives of religious groups, the local government and community leaders, discussed and approved the project through a resolution.

“The decision to allow this undertaking has been properly consulted with local groups and approved by the same. All issues and concerns … have been properly discussed during the consultations,” Jayme said.

Locals, she said, were offered opportunities to work with the “Survivor” crew and earn from the taping.

The cast and crew of “Survivor” began shooting in the island on May 19, after being cleared by the PAMB.

The project had drawn opposition from some community members, who said that making popular island destinations, like Siwangag Cove, off limits deprived them of livelihood.

Jayme said four families directly affected in Siwangag Cove and Cape Engaño were offered P885,110 for their temporary relocation “and to compensate for their anticipated loss of harvest for two crop seasons.”

The rest of the community has been earning, she said, citing the employment of 359 villagers in April and May.

These residents, she said, are direct beneficiaries of the project but local restaurants, sari-sari (variety) stores, seafood suppliers and market vendors had also benefited indirectly.

Jayme said 23 of 248 residents hired by the “Survivor” team in May are members of the Palaui San Vicente Motor Banca Association, which had expressed fears of losing income as tourists are barred from visiting the island off Sta. Ana town.

She said the TV crew “hires as the need arises” so jobs are “made available on a daily basis.”

She said the Palaui Island Women’s Catering Group, a subsidiary organization of the Palaui Island Environmental Protectors Association, has been serving the crew and posted a “1,300-percent increase in revenues.”

“Initial feedback actually shows a very contented community, a condition that can be attributed to more livelihood opportunities and to promises that have not just been fulfilled but exceeded expectations,” she said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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Tags: Cagayan province , Palaui Island , Sta.Ana Town , Tourism , Travel

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