Local chief executives, planning development officers, and other public officials participated in the Integrated Area Development (IAD) project of the seventh congressional district of Cebu Province at the Montebello Villa Hotel, Cebu City from June 5 to 7.
Organized by the Cebu Provincial Government, Office of Rep. Peter John Calderon, in partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), the three-day workshop aims to create a unified and strategic vision for the district, recognizing agriculture and tourism as the district’s two main economic drivers.
“The Provincial Government forged an agreement with one of the best NGOs there is in Cebu Province, and I am referring to RAFI. The purpose of that (agreement) was to raise the bar of good governance, so that Cebu will become an ideal place to visit, to do business, and to live,” said Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale, who also sits as the chairperson of tourism to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
During the workshop, participants identified three main sectors that they can focus on, specifically ecotourism, adventure tourism and agro-tourism.
Among the strengths of the district pointed out were its hospitable communities and rich culture and heritage. However, the lack of a unified tourism promotional material was pointed out as one of the area’s weaknesses, emphasizing that each municipality has its own.
“For me, it is very important to remember that while you continue to focus and develop the main industries that support your localities, we also need to learn and work on their weaknesses, and minimize or eliminate threats,” said Gov. Hilario P. Davide III, adding that working on the district’s weaknesses also opens new opportunities for the locals.
The seventh congressional district of Cebu is composed of eight municipalities, namely, Alcantara, Alegria, Badian, Dumanjug, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, Moalboal and Ronda. These are located in the southwestern part of the island.
After the workshop, a three-month time frame was set, which includes the formation of a technical working group where Provincial Board Members Christopher Baricuatro and Jerome Librando would be hands-on, and the drafting and signing of a memorandum of agreement by stakeholders.
The participants also agreed to identify the most common traits in their respective areas in the next meetings, and to consolidate these into one brand, further creating the district’s image.
“The real challenge will be in the implementation and the execution of this plan in the coming months and in the coming years. If we stay together and focus on our efforts, we will come up with this development for our district,” said Rep. Calderon.