CATARMAN, Northern Samar-Declaring Northern Samar as an insurgency free province will have a positive effect on its tourism industry.

Governor Edwin

Thus said Governor Edwin Ongchuan, whose administration is hoping that the insurgency problem that has been affecting them for decades now will come to its end.

The province is considered as the ‘last frontier’ of the communist armed group in Eastern Visayas with two remaining guerilla fronts still operating.

While the province boosts of beautiful tourism destinations like beaches and centuries-old rock formations, its tourism sector is not totally developed due largely on the presence of the New People’s Army(NPA).

“The insurgency problem prevents the development of our province. Because of this, people has stigma and negative impression every time they hear Northern Samar. They always think of the New People’s Army,” Gov.Ongchuan said.

The governor welcomes the declaration of the Army officials to crush the insurgency problem in their problem before the end of the year.

“We are doing so much effort to inform the public that Northern Samar is safe. So with the help of the media and the provincial information office, we are disseminating to all that tourists are safe when they visit our province,” Ongchuan said.

Provincial Tourism Officer Maria Josette Doctor agrees with the governor that they are facing setback in promoting tourism due to insurgency problem.

“But that should not stop us. We should not sit and do nothing just because there is an insurgency problem in Northern Samar,” Doctor said.

“Thanks God we never had a problem with regards to tourists who became victims of insurgents. So we are making all efforts to promote our province and it is a good thing if we are declared insurgency free,” she added.

The provincial tourism office, with the help of the Department of Tourism, had continuously promote tourism-ready areas of Northern Samar.

Just this week, the provincial government under Gov. Ongchuan lunched the first ever ‘Ibabao Festival’ showcasing the rich culture of the province.
The holding of the festival, which is in line of its provincehood anniversary, is aim to help attract tourists to Northern Samar.

When travel restrictions started to relax in 2021, they were able to generate an arrival of more than 200,000 tourists.

The following year, the province was visited by over 300,000 tourists of which 10 percent of them were foreigners.

“We are hoping now that with the end of coronavirus(COVID-19) and with all these promotions that we are doing, we hope that this will lead to increase of tourist arrivals,’ Doctor said.

The opening of the Simora-Palapag road is also seen as a factor for more tourists to visit the province as it will result to easy and fast access among Pacific towns in the province. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)