SURIGAO CITY — The proposal of Surigao del Norte provincial government to host the photo-shoot swimwear competition of the Miss Universe 2017 gained a positive response from the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas told reporters on Thursday that the response to the request was personally received by her in a meeting with DOT Secretary Wanda Teo.
Matugas said at least 20 candidates of Miss Universe 2017 will have their swimwear competition in Siargao Island, the premier tourist destination in CARAGA region and Northern Mindanao.
“In behalf of the entire Surigaonon community, we are very pleased to support the efforts of the Department of Tourism in the development of the tourism industry, especially with the country’s successful selection as the host of the most anticipated Miss Universe 2017,” Governor Matugas said in a request letter she sent to Secretary Teo.
The governor added that hosting the particular event is a rare chance and opportunity for Siargao Island to showcase its diverse tourism destinations which include a vast mangrove area, pristine waters on white sand beaches, tidal pools and rock formations, caves, verdant forests and captivating islets.
The final date of the competition is not yet finalized, Matugas added.
The positive response from the DOT was also welcomed by Surigao del Norte 1st District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II who told the participants of the 25th Mindanao Business Conference (MBC) in Surigao City on Thursday, August 25 that Siargao Island will receive around P1.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects by 2017.
The allocation, Rep. Matugas said, will complete the concreting of the major road networks in the island, including those leading to the tourist spots in the area.
Lined up projects for next year include the P347-million preservation of national roads that would include repairs; the P289 million road network development; P3 million construction and maintenance of bridges; P55 million flood control and drainage; P774 million construction of access roads to airport, seaports and tourism destinations; and the P55-million local infrastructure projects for barangays.
Matugas also bared the plan to establish a new international airport in the island.
The plan, he added, already got the support of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who also shared the vision of the leaders of Surigao del Norte to infuse more development projects in the island.
The establishment of a new international airport will be part of the master development plan that is now being worked on by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Representatives from the Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines (CAAP) have already visited Siargao two weeks ago and conducted an ocular inspection on the possible site of the proposed airport, Matugas added.
“Come to visit and invest in Siargao Island,” the congressman urged the businessmen who joined the conference.
He said the island is considered as the international surfing and game fishing capital of the country as tournaments are being held in the area every year.
On September 23, another round of international surfing competition will be hosted in Siargao Island where professional surfers from other countries will come to compete.
With surfing being considered as one of the official games in 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Matugas said the possibility of winning the first gold medal for the country is not far as Siargao Island has already produced a number of surfing champions in the past competitions. Alex Lopez/PNA/northboundasia.com