The province of Sarawak in Malaysia is donating US$30 thousand (about P1.3 million) for Cebu’s ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda. The donation was announced at the general assembly of the recently concluded annual conference of the East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) in Sawarak, Malaysia.
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale who attended the conference in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia along with PB Member Grecilda Sanchez, Tourism Officer Grace Paulino, Dr. Milagros Espina and other members of the academe last Sept. 5-7 divulged this.
On the second day of the conference, Dr. Espina presented a paper called ‘Tourism’s Recovery From A Calamity’ complete with photos of the local government units that were badly hit by supertyphoon Yolanda. Photos of partial restoration of some destinations as a result of the rehabilitation efforts were also shown.
“The presentation visibly touched the other members of the forum,” Magpale said. The following day, Magpale reinforced the impact of the presentation with her speech that included how Cebu and the rest of the Visayas were shaken by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October 2013. The earthquake prevented Magpale from attending the 2013 conference scheduled a day after the earthquake struck.
The presentations prompted Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism pledged to donate the said amount to the province of Cebu. The Minister “will be coming to Cebu to personally bring the check in two weeks time,” Magpale said.
It was agreed in the conference that the forum proper will then be held once every two years with only the standing committee meeting annually. Instead of cultural heritage as the center of the forum’s thrust in previous years and which Cebu has been addressing, now the focus shifts to eco-tourism, something which Cebu has also been attending to.
In line with this, Cebu “is supporting infrastructure preparations in local government units such as those in the Mainit spring in Malabuyoc and the waterfalls in Alegria,” Magpale added.
The next conference will be held in 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.