• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Senator Francis Tolentino yesterday commended Sagay City for its continuous efforts for environmental protection that other local government units should emulate, after it was recently awarded as one of the Top 100 Destinations in the world.
Tolentino, the guest of honor and speaker at the Sinigayan Festival opening at the Sagay City Public Plaza, disclosed that the city is blessed because it has surmounted every challenge and has advocated so much for the protection of the environment.
“The international awards given to Sagay should serve as a lesson and we should pass it on to the next generation,” the senator said.
During the program, plaques of recognition from the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Convention in Berlin, Germany, were presented to the public.
Sagay City was recently awarded as Top 2 for Nature and Scenery Category and the People’s Choice Award in the Top 100 Green Destination Stories. It was also nominated in the Top 100 Destination Stories by Susan Cardenas, President of Society for Sustainable Tourism and Development and Green Destinations Southeast Asia Partner Representatives.
Tolentino also said that more than the lovely and festive colors, Sagay is a trailblazing city that cares for the environment and he hopes that it will be passed on to the next generation.
Rep, Alfredo Marañon III. Sagay City Mayor Narciso “Narwin” Javelosa and Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva yesterday vowed to protect at all cost, in the preservation of Sagay Marine Sanctuary, which started by the late Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr, when he was still the mayor of Sagay City.
“We have to sustain what we have been working for so many years,” Cueva, who also served as mayor of Sagay City, and congressman of the 2nd district of Negros Occidental, said.
Cueva also said that the award given to Sagay recently also set a challenge to Sagay to create more programs to create more sustainable opportunities for communities while advocating the preservation and conservation of the environment.
He said that they are minimizing congestion at the Carbin Reef, allowing only its carrying capacity of 100, as they also established and further improved other tourist destinations in the Sagay Marine Reserve Area, such as Suyac, Lapus Lapus, and soon the revival of river cruise at the Himogaan River.
Rep. Marañon said “we are not into mass tourism, but more on sustainable tourism. Low volume but with high value.”
The solon admitted that the international awards received by Sagay City challenged for them to do more.
Mayor Javelosa, Jr. said that the festival’s theme “We Listen… We Act Together,” calls for being mindful and sensitive to the needs of our people especially the poor, the oppressed, and those in the hemline of society.
“As government leaders, we need to go out of our comfort zone, talk to the people in our communities and listen to their stories, their problems, and their urgent needs that must be acted upon promptly,” Javelosa said, adding “In so doing, we would be able to implement programs that respond effectively to their needs.”*