TACLOBAN—Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez, who heads Eastern Visayas’ only highly urbanized city, got the Regional Development Council chairmanship after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed her to the post effective Feb. 9.
Officials led by National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Bonifacio Uy recently visited the Mayor’s Office to hand over a copy of Romualdez’s appointment and brief the new chairperson of her role.
The mayor said she was “honored and humbled” in accepting the challenge of leading the policymaking body, and vowed to boost eco-tourism programs that would promote Eastern Visayas as the tourist destination of the country.
Romualdez said the region is rich with eco-tourism wonders that tourist can visit, such as the Canigao Island, Kalanggaman, Suhoton caves, the rock formation in Marabut, Samar, the rapids in Paranas, Samar, Biri’s “wonders” in Northern Samar and many waterfalls and white sand beaches, apart from its socio-cultural heritage.
“Promoting Region 8 as a tourist destination can uplift the socio-economic condition of our Waray-Waray region, particularly the island of Samar,” she said.
The mayor will also push for the development and expansion of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, being the busiest airport in the entire region, by upgrading its facilities from a domestic to an international airport level “that will serve the increasing populace and traveler’s demand, having Tacloban City as the entry point to their respective destinations in any part of Eastern Visayas.”
The improvement of the DZR airport is a must to boost the region’s economy, considering Tacloban “is interconnected to the different provinces of the region,” Romualdez added.
Tacloban plans to improve by putting up a bay walk at the city’s Astrodome with a “Yolanda/Haiyan” landmark—after the storm that decimated most of the region three years ago—along with a “Yolanda” museum and by converting 13 hectares of a northern barangay to an agri-tourism family nature park, the mayor said.
Romualdez, a first-term mayor, was nominated by other local government officials and representatives of non-government organizations in the region in their Aug. 31, 2016 RDC Meeting at the NEDA-8 office.
Other possible RDC leaders are Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, Leyte Gov. Dominic Petilla, and Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan.
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