By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Outgoing Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said on June 27, 2019 that tourism has emerged as the sunshine industry of the province.
Marañon made the declaration in his State of the Province Address delivered at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center Thursday afternoon.
“The Philippines and the world are discovering the province as an interesting destination for its heritage sites, nature and wellness, food and culture,” he added.
Negros Occidental received 3.19 million day tourists in 2018, which is 17 percent higher than in 2017, which had 2.74 million day visitors.
Tourists staying overnight and longer totalled 640,000 in 2010 then rose to 1.76 million in 2018.
The province was inducted in the Hall of Fame by the Association of Tourism of Officers of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism as Best Tourism Oriented Local Government Unit in the Philippines ( 2016 Provincial Level) Best Tourism Week Celebration in the Philippines (2016 Provincial Level) Best Tourism Event ( Festival Category) in the Philippines (Panaad sa Negros Festival 2017).
Marañon said he never expected to be governor.
“But God has a very good sense of humor, he allowed me to sail, not just the seven seas but the 32,000 hectares of Sagay Marine Sanctuary as well as running after poachers and fishermen committing crimes against nature.”
As to economic development, Marañon said the province enacted the Provincial Investment and Incentives Code and established the Provincial Economic Development and Investment Plan.
In good governance, the province won various awards in environment health, social services, agriculture, livestock and poultry, tourism, sports financial services, the Seal of Good Housekeeping, Gawad Pamanang Lahi, and Excellence in Local Governance.
Poverty incidence in Negros dropped to 29 percent in 2018 from 32 percent in 2012.
For healthcare, the Negros Occidental Health Insurance Program (NOCHP) launched in 2010 has a membership of 320,000 families in April 2019 and 500,000 individual patients have been granted free outpatient care.