Election 2016: Agenda of the Aklan governor
The Inquirer is coming out today with the 15th in its series on pressing people’s concerns that should be high on the agenda of candidates for representative, governor or mayor in the May 9 elections. The series should help voters in the provinces choose their leaders wisely. In line with our “ThINQ. Vote.” advocacy, we have asked candidates in certain provinces, cities and congressional districts to outline their concrete plans of action in dealing with specific issues in their areas.
PROFILE: Aklan province
Aklan province at the northwestern tip of Panay Island is home to the world-famous Boracay Island. It is also known for the Kalibo Ati-Atihan, held in January in honor of Señor Sto. Niño, and considered the merriest and oldest among festivals.
Formerly part of Capiz province, Aklan became a separate province through Republic Act No. 1414 signed by President Ramon Magsaysay on April 25, 1956.
Region: Western Visayas
Land area: 182,142 hectares
Total population: 535,725 (2010)
Registered voters: 345,359 (2016)
Population density: 290 per square kilometer
Classification: Second class
CONCERN 1: TOURISM AND GROWTH
Tourism on Boracay Island is one of the pillars in the economic development of Aklan. Located in Malay town at the northern tip of the province, Boracay draws about 1.5 million tourists yearly, bringing in tens of billions of pesos in revenues. But the revenue and growth have been focused only on the island and Malay. What programs will you implement to ensure that other towns and areas will also develop?
Antonio Maming, United Nationalist Alliance
- Priority is to develop agriculture by upgrading and enhancing the province’s irrigation system.
- Develop tourism activities and attractions in other areas like the towns of Libacao, Buruanga, Tangalan and Nabas because not all tourists prefer beach destinations.
- Put up of a hydropower plant in Libacao town so that we can lower power rates and attract investors.
Florencio Miraflores, Liberal Party
- Continue developing tourism sites in other municipalities.
- Provide access, like roads, and prepare communities because we want community-based tourism, not big hotels and resorts like in Boracay.
- Develop attractions in other towns like in Tangalan, Ibajay and Madalag.
- Promote one-town-one festival as yearlong attractions for tourists.
CONCERN 2: AGRICULTURE
Aklan is primarily agricultural being a producer of palay, fiber crops and coconut. But the sector has been battered by natural calamities in the past few years. What specific programs will you implement to support and develop the province’s agriculture?
- Aside from enhancing the irrigation system, widespread training and education, especially for farmers, will be conducted to maximize development of agricultural land.
- Enhance irrigation system through the construction of P750-million Aklan River irrigation dam under a two-year program for year-round irrigation.
- We are developing roads in Banga, Libacao and Madalag towns to spur abaca production.
- Encourage and support mussel and oyster farming for inland fishing and continued support for fisheries sector.
CONCERN 3: FLOODING
Flooding is one of the perennial problems of Aklan affecting the capital town of Kalibo and neighboring municipalities. How will you address this concern?
- Comprehensive dredging of Aklan River to clear the massive siltation so that the river will not overflow.
- Reforestation of watershed area in Libacao and Madalag towns as long-term solution to stem continuous erosion and siltation.
- Construction of revetment walls along the Aklan River to protect Kalibo and Numancia towns from flooding.
(Interviews by Nestor P. Burgos Jr.)
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