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PIA Press Release
2007/09/19

Siquijor's zero crime rate, a big plus to tourism, says LGen Yano

by Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (19 September) -- While this province is not yet in the league of established international tourist destinations, it is on its way to becoming one because of its zero crime rate, says the new commanding general of the Philippine Army, Lieutenant General Alexander Yano in his Keynote Speech during the province's 36th Charter Anniversary celebration today (September 17).

Lauding Siquijor as an image model for other provinces, the Siquijodnon General, by heart and by roots, said that true development always comes with a "peace and order climate conducive to productive economic activity" which he also said, is for the local government and the populace to maintain.

Yano explained that the Armed Forces of the Philippines always believe that before true development can really start, peace and order needs to be established. "Indeed, security is a precondition for prosperity," he said as he pledged the full support of the Philippine Army in helping maintain that zero crime rate.

"Tourism plays an important role in the Philippine economy," he said citing that in the year 2004 alone, visitor arrivals reached 2.291 million, which in turn resulted in visitor receipts totaling some US$1.99 billion. "As a matter of fact, tourism investments endorsed by the Department of Tourism to other agencies reached over P937.897 million in 2004. The country's tourist arrivals totaled 2,799,000 in 2006 and is expected to grow to as much as 3.4 million in 2007," he also said.

The Philippine economy is now expected to grow to 6.6% in 2007 and 6.0% in 2008, up from earlier forecasts of 5.4% and 5.7% respectively, also says a report from the Asian Development Outlook 2007 Update (ADO Update). The economy expanded by 7.5% in the first half of 2007 from 5.6% in the first half of 2006, it says.

Yano added that with a favorable security and economic condition, the local government can effectively deliver basic services, build irrigation systems, open more farm-to-market roads, build more post-harvest facilities, improve tourist facilities which will all translate to "better life for everyone."

"Siquijor is an insurgency- and terrorism-free province, let us keep it that way," he stressed. "Ug magubot ang atong Pinalanggang Siquijor, ang mga mag-uuma madisturbo sa ilang pananum, menos na sila'g ani, momahal ang ilang produkto ug maukay ang economiya sa atong isla... kauban niini, mawala na ang enchantment ug misteryo sa atong isla, ug mohinay ang turismo, Yano explained.


A Siquijodnon star

Lt. Gen. Alexander B. Yano is the 49th commanding general of 80,000-strong Philippine Army replacing Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino who has reached the mandatory retirement age.

He assumed command of the premier armed service in ceremonies at Fort Bonifacio on August 24, 2007 led by Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro.

Although born in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, Lt. Gen. Yano is a pure Siquijodnon having been born and raised by Siquijodnon parents, the late Iņego Yano and Gloria Badong, both former public school teachers. His grand parents Teodoro Yano and Paulino Ligutom all from Lazi, Siquijor, are known to be relatives of the Fuas, and so he is.

Proudly called as Siquijor's son, Yano was awarded for his great accomplishments and contributions as a Sqiuijodnon in this year's celebration.

Joining him in the celebration is his brother Cesar, who also finished the premier Philippine Military Academy (PMA)and is now a full colonel, and his family from Sindangan.

Yano's meteoric rise in the military hierarchy is nothing but phenomenal.

He became the first in his PMA batch to head a brigade and later to earn their star. He was also the first to get his second star, head an Army division, and the only one so far among his classmates in the academy to head an area command in the military. He has overtaken an entire upper class with his appointment as Philippine Army chief.

He is a strong candidate to succeed Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon who will retire in February next year.

The Chief of Staff of the AFP traditionally comes from the Philippine Army.

Lt. Gen. Yano's military career is nothing but sterling. He topped all military training he attended including the Infantry Officer Advance Course at the US Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia in the US where he landed in the Commandant's List.

In the course of his military service, Yano earned 39 military awards including five Distinguished Star Awards, the Philippine Legion of Honor and a Gold Cross for gallantry in combat.

He earned accolades for his adept handling of the Cabatangan siege where he successfully negotiated for the safe release of over 100 hostages held by Moro National Liberation Forces (MNLF) during the failed rebellion of Prof. Nur Misuari in November 2001.

During his brief stint as chair of the government panel in the Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) not a single major violation was reported. (PIA) [top]

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