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PIA Press Release

Sulu pursues development, infra projects

By Sonny Abing III

Patikul, Sulu (22 June) -- Filipino engineers are hurrying up the completion of renovation of the airport in Sulu province in the southern Philippines.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said the renovation is expected to be completed by August this year. If completed, huge planes such as 737s and cargo aircrafts will be able to fly and land safely, he said.

Tan said the project, which began last year, cost about $3 million and is funded by the United States. He added that the project was made possible through the help of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He also thanked Washington and President Arroyo for the project.

"We expect this airport renovation to be completed by August. With a bigger airport, more aircrafts can now fly and land safely in Sulu and the project will surely hasten trade and commerce," he said.

The airport's runway, which was previously 1,800-meters, has been expanded to more than 2,000 meters so it could accommodate bigger passenger planes not only from Manila or Zamboanga, but from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that make up the East Asia Growth Area, a sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia that included the Philippines.

"The President has promised us more projects for the people," Tan said, adding that they are planning to put up an ultra-modern beach resort in Panglima Tahil Island to lure local visitors and tourists.

He said the plan is to build a P50-million resort on the scenic island that would erase the stigma of Sulu as a war-torn province. He said they have master plan to develop Panglima Tahil, about 10 kilometers west of the capital town Jolo, and make it a haven for nature-lovers and divers.

Tan noted that tapping the province's potentials could uplift the economic conditions of its citizens. He said Sulu boasts of pristine beaches, dive sites and trek lands.

"The project is geared to put Sulu in the map as a world-class tourist destination and showcase its natural beauty and promote the beautiful province which has been unfairly tagged by media reports as a troubled island."

"The establishment of a beach resort on the island will improve the peace and order condition in Sulu because it will bring socioeconomic benefits to the people through job creation and sale of indigenous and local products, thus addressing the high poverty incidence," Tan said.

The beach resort plan is a complex replete with modern recreational facilities such as water sports, diving activities, court games, and production and sale parks for ethnic ware, jewelry, traditional clothes and handicrafts. It will have its own power and water supply system, according to Tan.

The project also proposes an artisan village, a venue and school for performing arts and modern telecommunications centers. The governor said the resort hotel will have 100 rooms, including function rooms to cater for conferences and seminars and other social activities.

Tan also said that the proposed beach resort will have modern telecommunications systems such as telephones, internet with wi-fi facilities, digital television and satellite communication and other amenities.

"The project will generate employment, especially to the local populace. This will also improve the peace and order situation in the province and remove the wrong perception of the people about Sulu as a war-torn area. This will also locate Sulu in the map of tourism and investment destination in Southern Philippines. It would also bring significant revenues that other investors would see the viability of the tourism industry in the province," Tan said.

Gov. Tan assures everyone that better things are in the horizon for the province, the potentials are unquestionable, and it is just matter of utilizing these resources efficiently to maximize its benefit to the people of Sulu,

Sulu is one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. (Sulu PIO/PIA9-BST) [top]

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