TACLOBAN CITY – The lighting of the San Juanico Bridge will result in more economic activities in communities located near the iconic bridge.
Thus said Tourism Regional Director Karena Rosa Tiopes who said that they are projecting that more business establishments will mushroom in the area that could result to employment to the local people.
Among them are boat owners who reside in communities in Tacloban and Samar side of the bridge who can provide tourists boat rentals for those who want to see the lighting of San Juanico while at the sea.
“Actually, that is one of the possibilities that was already discussed, and this needs to be looked into for the safety of tourists,” Tiopes said.
“If there are locals who want to organized tours across San Juanico they need to be trained especially on the part of safety. There is nothing wrong with it for as long as they will be organized and trained,” she added.
Tiopes added that once a group is organized into a people organization, they can easily ask assistance from other government agencies for training, funding, and other assistance that they will be needing.
Currently only one tourism enterprise is providing activity at the bridge, the San Juanico Cruises, that provides not only a tour along San Juanico Strait and visits to some of the islets near San Juanico Bridge but also to tourist destinations along the coastlines in Marabut area.
Tiopes said that it used to be two but the other tour operators stopped their operations after their boats were destroyed by typhoon Ursula last December 2019.
The lighting of San Juanico Bridge is now more than 75 percent completed according to the Engr. Cris Dela Rea, lighting director of Amigo Entertainment Technologies Inc which handles the P80-million worth project.
The contractor is targeting to finish the project by end of November and will be turn over to the provincial government before Christmas.
The project was proposed in 2015 to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) by former Samar governor and now Rep. Sharee Ann Tan.
The project was target to be finished last May. However, due to restriction as effect of the current pandemic, works were temporary stopped and only resumed last August.
Rep. Tan, in a press statement, said that she is looking forward to the completion of the project and to the day that tourism activities will be back again for visitors to witness and experience the hospitality, culture, food and sites in Samar province.
“The COVID-19 had slowed our effort but just like our experience during Yolanda, we remain resilient and positive that this too shall pass,”she said.
Meanwhile, Governor Michael Tan said that the project reflects the aspiration of the province to become the niche in the tourism industry.
“As the light significantly reflects the aesthetic experience, it will also create a mood that will stimulate the mind and motivate our people to strive,” he said in a separate press statement. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)