Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday called on the government to promote the welfare of marine sanctuary workers who in turn protect the country’s important natural resources that draw in tourists.
“Mahalaga sa ating ekonomiya at pangkalahatan na kabuhayan ang sektor ng turismo na kinabibilangan ng ating mga marine sanctuary workers,” Cayetano said during the December 15, 2021 episode of Sampung Libong Pag-asa which was live streamed on his Facebook page.
(The tourism sector, which includes our marine sanctuary workers, is important to our economy and overall livelihood.)
Cayetano said marine sanctuary workers are important because they protect the waters’ natural state while allowing people to use and enjoy it in a sustainable way.
The episode featured sanctuary workers at the Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary, a 48-hectare coral reef protected area in Romblon that is host to numerous species of tropical reef fishes, corrals-hard and soft, seabirds, eels, octopus, and picturesque sea grass beds.
A tourist haven, the place was visited by 4,000 tourists in 2019. However, the number of tourists greatly declined due to pandemic restrictions and the jobs and income of tourism workers were greatly affected.
“Nung nagsimula ang panahon ng pandemic, nawalan kami ng kabuhayan. So hirap kami ngayon,” marine sanctuary worker Alfredo Santiago said.
(When the pandemic started, we lost our livelihood. Now we are having a hard time.)
To aid Looc’s sanctuary workers, the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program announced 25 new beneficiaries who each received P10,000 to help them recover from the pandemic.
Cayetano was assisted by Looc Vice Governor Felix Ylagan, Looc Municipal Mayor Lisette Arboleda, and Looc Administrative Officer Christine Joy Martinez.
Launched on May 1, the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program provides 10K Ayuda as financial assistance to select individuals affected by the pandemic.
As of December 9, a total of 14,448 beneficiaries have already been announced.