APECO potential for tourism, economic opportunities cited
By Hannah Torregoza
Government officials have expressed optimism on the potential of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) to rake in more tourists and spur economic opportunities in the province.
APECO wrapped up its week-long second summer festival, marked by musical, art, dance, sports and religious activities, this Holy Week.
The event highlighted APECO as a leading partner of the Aurora Provincial Government in preserving the province’s cultural ingenuity and history, environment and natural resources.
APECO was established by virtue of Republic Act No. 9490, or the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007, which were pushed by former Senator Edgardo J. Angara and his son, then Aurora Representative and now Senator Juan Edgardo (Sonny) Angara.
While government officials are positive that the problem in Boracay Island would be resolved soon, the Department of Tourism (DOT) officials said they are now undertaking measures to ensure that the Aurora’s clean and beautiful beaches would remain the same despite the influx of tourists, both local and foreign.
“For tourism to really work, we must be responsible caretakers of the community resources and to be fun, yet responsible hosts to our visitors,” DOT Spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said during the opening ceremony last March 26.
Apart from the beaches, the Aurora Province is also keen on the promoting more of its tourism sites particularly the San Ildefonso Peninsula, and the most-visited Ermita Church.
Department of Agrarian Undersecretary Emily Padilla, on the other hand, expressed confidence that the Duterte-government’s federalism advocacy would work in Aurora, noting how APECO is the only ecozone facing the Pacific Ocean.
“With the problems that we have concerning the West Philippine Sea, we can go back to the original route used by the Acapulco and the Galleon Trade to spur economic activities in the eastern seaboard,” Padilla said.
Padilla also said APECO has the strong support of President Duterte and the DAR which believe that the place can pave way for the creation of 200 economic hubs in the country.
Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Joel Egco, who also cited APECO as “one good news” as it starts to take off and effect the change for the development of Aurora “whose potentials have impact on the national economy.”