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EDITORIAL - Tourist spot

It boasts of white sand beaches and great diving sites, but if Pag-asa Island is to be turned into a tourist destination, the government will have to provide the infrastructure for it. Located in the West Philippine Sea, Pag-asa is the largest of the Kalayaan island group in Palawan. The idea of developing Pag-asa as a tourist destination has been tossed around for many years, with no real movement toward its realization.

Now perhaps the plan will finally push through, as the government prepares to install a beaching ramp so that roll-on, roll-off vessels can dock. The ramp, which is expected to be installed within the year, can pave the way for the development of a harbor in Pag-asa.

Such improvements will allow tourists to visit the island at least for day trips. If the government wants visitors to stay longer, it will have to offer accommodations better than the white sand. Certain tourists like nature at its most pristine and may not mind sleeping under the stars, but many others want a place where they can rest in comfort and safety after a day at the beach. Safety is another matter that visitors must be assured of in case Pag-asa tries to follow the lead of the rest of Palawan as a top tourist destination.

Kalayaan has been a sixth-class municipality of Palawan for many years and has about 70 families as permanent residents. Philippine troops have been stationed on the island group for decades. The islands boast of similar natural attractions that have drawn tourists to Palawan. Development of Kalayaan, however, has not kept pace with the rest of the province, one of the country’s most popular travel destinations. With the beaching ramp set to be installed, the government should move beyond rhetoric and develop Pag-asa into a tourist spot.

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