La Union Agri-tourism programs to propel province and improve quality of life

SAN FERNANDO CITY Aug. 14 – Agri-tourism development programs are expected to propel La Union and improve the quality of life of the people in this province.

This was one of the gists and highlights of the State of the Province Address delivered by Governor Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega III Thursday, at the St. William the Hermit Cathedral here.

The province’s new Performance Governance System (PGS), its passing of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s initiation and compliance stage in just eight months paved the way to deliver basic services centered on its vision to become the ‘Heart of Agri-Tourism in Northern Luzon by 2025.’

According to Ortega, La Union is the 10th most competitive province in the country, ranking first in the Ilocos region, based on assessed performance on good governance, infrastructure, and economic development.

To enhance food security, the province continues to implement programs and supports rural livelihood through the distribution of hybrid seeds, farm machineries, fishing equipment and post-harvest facilities benefiting over 10,000 farmers and more than 80 farmers’ and fisherfolks’ association.

It recently re-opened the Honeybee Center and reviving the honey industry to intensify local enterprise development.

For tourism, three farm tourism sites which are accredited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Tourism (DOT) were established. The rehabilitated Mabanag Hall, which was turned into to a multi-purpose building, started operating and is now the home of the new La Union Agri-Tourism Center.

The province was also recognized for being a sport, adventure, and wellness advocate as well as the best promoter in tourism activities owing it to the surfing area in San Juan.

Due to its drive to attract investors and tourists, the overall tourist arrivals in 2016 reached 468,000 and for 2017, a total of 330,000 tourist arrivals as of June, have already been recorded.

“We have identified our contribution to nation-building according to our strategic position that is consistent with our vision,” said the governor in his opening speech.

He added, “We have embraced and championed good governance and had already fostered strong partnerships with our stakeholders.”

For the coming years, the provincial government shall invest on minimizing traffic issues and to deliver ease in business and bigger economic expansion through the construction of Bauang-San Fernando-San Juan By-Pass Road, the revival of railway lines, and full utilization of the airport and seaport in the lone city of the province.

It will also further explore on agriculture innovation and technology to help local farmers and agri-preneurs that might open doors for the establishment of a world-class agricultural complex in partnership with the State of Israel.

At present, comprehensive land use plans are being reviewed and aligned to the development plans and strategy of the province.

To further implement various programs, the Provincial Development Investment Program 2017-2022, with a total financial requirement of P25.2- billion, was already approved.

More than P2- billion worth of infrastructure projects is said to be downloaded to all the 20 component local government units for 2017-2018.

The province is also International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 2015:9001 certified which instilled work process discipline among the employees and resulted in the streamlining of business processes, improved client appreciation and business friendliness which is aligned to one of the directives of the President Duterte. JNDP/AHFF/