Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tourism Up

Tourist arrivals rose by 14 %, says Durano

Inquirer News Service

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur -- Despite the political turmoil hounding the country, the number of foreign tourists increased by 14 percent from January to July, according to Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano.

Durano, who was here to open the weeklong Bicol version of "Wow Philippines" fiesta, ascertained that the political turmoil had not affected the tourism industry of the Philippines.

Without citing exact figures, he claimed that tourists from Japan, China and Korea knew that the rallies and other political squabbles affected only Metro Manila.

Southern Tagalog and Bicol were among the regions that benefited from the increasing influx of foreign tourists, he said.

Bicol was also becoming a major tourist destination with Lake Buhi and the islets of Caramoan, aside from the majestic Mayon Volcano, gaining popularity.

In a simple ceremony held at Plaza Rizal here, he declared the geothermal field occupied by the Bac-Man geothermal production as an eco-tourism site.

Among several areas recognized by the eco-tourism certification of Bac-Man are the Botong Twin Falls, Bat Sanctuary, Inang Maharang Mud Pool and Nag-aso Lake.

The 150-megawatt geothermal production field located in the boundary of Bacon, Sorsogon and Manito, Albay started its operation in 1993.

The location of the geothermal field in the mountains also provides a vantage view of Mayon Volcano, Albay Gulf, Bulusan Volcano and Sorsogon Bay.

Bohol Chronicle Update on Jagna

"Lake" threatens Jagna, Duero folks

At least seven Jagna and Duero barangays situated in low-lying areas have been categorized as under threat following the formation of an artificial lake, which at any given time could trigger flashfloods in Mayana, Jagna.

Jagna Mayor Exuperio Lloren yesterday told the Chronicle that under close monitoring are barangays Boctol, Lunoy, Cambugasan and Alihawan in Jagna while barangays Mambuol, Cansuhay and Alihawan in Duero are also vulnerable of flashfloods.

If the land movement continues, the seven barangays face the risk of being washed out by floodwaters, the mayor said.

The land erosion has affected 78 hectares in Mayana, Lloren noted, quoting a Sept. 1 report of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB).

The erosion which started July 11 is moving at 5 to 23 meters a day during the past two months.

Earlier, Emil Berador of the regional MGB said the land area affected is even bigger than the landslide that hit the United States sometime in 1996.

The scenario of the feared flashflood may appear that water would find its way through two tributaries that could pull down water from the Mayana River and the Banwalog River in Duero. The water coming from these two rivers may flow into Alihawan River that sets the boundary between the two coastal towns.

Third district engineer Aramis Torrefranca said the artificial lake has developed below Mayana River. He said the lake measures about 7 by 50 meters in diameter, a situation enough to alarm residents nearby for impending flashfloods.

The district engineer said residents in the seven barangays are at risk if the water will overflow.

To prevent a possible flashflood, six holes have been made on the sides of the artificial lake.

The lake was five-meter deep. But after massive clean-up, the deep has reduced to two meters.

Torrefranca has posted engineering personnel right at the lake to find ways that water could not overflow into the low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, MGB authorities fear that landslide will continue for even a year.

Llloren said relocation has been carefully studied while the displaced residents, about 176 families, have temporarily sought refuge at the homes of their relatives and friends.

The mayor said that since he expects additional assistance, a quick response team (QRT) has been in place in Mayana.


Lloren hopes relief assistance will continue to arrive in Jagna since the disaster is still in progress.

He said that despite the calamity, displaced residents have not been plagued of any form of sickness.

The mayor praised an ABS-CBN medical mission and groups of Jagna-anons from Cebu and Manila who visited the area twice for help.