The economy of Guimaras, an island province known for its sweet mangoes, is starting to recover from the effects of quarantine measures imposed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, according to Governor Samuel Gumarin.
"Our observation is ga-amat-amat na [recover] ang economy. Ang construction and services sectors [start to pick up]," Gumarin said in an interview on IMT Conversations.
According to the governor, the unity and cooperation among Guimarasnons play an important role in the economic recovery.
"Good thing nga ang mga pumuluyo nagasunod sila sa mga ginapatuman naton diri para maliwakan nga maglapta ang virus. Indi na namon kinganglan mag-impose sang curfew," said Gumarin.
Also contributing to the recovery of Guimaras is the gradual revival of the province's tourism industry.
"Ang aton turismo indi pa healthy pero buhi. Dako ang difference compared sang last year. May mga unod na mga hotels ta gawa. Ang taga Guimaras naga ka challenge and naga put out or innovate para makakita ubra," said Gumarin.
Guimaras, which is currently under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), is open to local tourists from within the Western Visayas region.
"Ang gina-allow ta is taga Western Visayas lang anay," said Gumarin.
Meanwhile, the governor said their province is sufficient in terms of farm, poultry, and fishery products.
"Ang aton mga isda ginahaboy ta sa mga tagaNegros. Kung diin mahal ang isda didto ginabaligya. Same man sa livestock ta. Gagmay palang nabakal na kag nadala sa NCR," said Gumarin.
"Dapat bilinan ta gid ang aton pumuluyo kag aton pamilya. Kanugon sang opportunity nga damo tani sa aton. Sa isda diri tag P160 per kilo kung baligya nila sagwa, ara sa P220 to P250," he further said.
PHASEOUT OF WOODEN-HULLED VESSELS
Gumarin said the phaseout of wooden-hulled bancas brought additional burden to the people of Guimaras amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have struggled during the phasedout because sang una damo gareklamo nga ayawan sila pila sa port. Subong since may reinforcement na sang fiber glass, ang problem nalang nga nakita ta is ang mahal sang plite," the governor said.
The province, according to Gumarin, needs more modernized bancas to serve those people traveling between Guimaras and Iloilo.
The provincial government targets to provide 10 fiberglass boats in Buenavista town and 12-13 boats in Jordan town.
To help their affected workers, Gumarin said they tapped the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to train them with new skills as well as prepare them for their future employment.
LOW NUMBER OF CASES
Since the start of the pandemic, Guimaras has recorded 376 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Of the number, 362 have recovered, 7 have died and 7 are considered active.
Gumarin attributed the low number of infections to their intensive monitoring of their borders.
"Amo ni nag protect sa Guimaras kay makita ta nga grabe ang pag monitor naton. We tapped the Philipine Coast Guard (PCG) - Guimaras to check the situation. So may nagalusot gid man from Negros. We tell them wala anay may malusot. Negros ang may pinakamataas nga case sa region. Ang entries ta is Negros to Dumangas to Parola and Jordan. While we do this, open ang aton ekonomiya. Despite sang pandemic makita ta compare sa nagligad, buhi gawa," he said.IMT