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Playground of Eastern Visayas?Antonio M. Reyes

By Antonio M. Reyes

Last Monday I attended a briefing on the proposed Tourism Plan for Southern Leyte.

The two-hour presentation, eloquently delivered by Engineer Robert Castañares, the newly elected President of the Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry sought tri-media support in projecting the province as the “Play Ground of Eastern Visayas.”

Yet even for a management expert like Castañares, it was a hard sell. For even he could not convince the participants that aside from the proposed Agas-Agas Zipline and Bungee Jumping facility his vision of transforming Southern Leyte into the “Playground Of Eastern Visayas” will be very difficult to achieve.

I say this because a “play ground” is supposed to be hallowed ground where one can leave one’s children all day, without fear they will be in harm’s way. In other words, if we cannot guarantee the safety of the visitors we will be inviting, we should not invite them at all.

For even Governor Damian Mercado who I interviewed by phone yesterday said he was deeply concerned about the worsening peace and order situation in Maasin City and would meet with the provincial PNP director and the city police chief when he returned here from Manila. The recent heinous murder and rape of 75 year old Lucia Sanico Maamo (a first cousin of Vice Governor Mike Maamo) is a testament to the anarchy now gripping the city. And what is pathetic about it is that our law enforcers admit they cannot solve the crime, despite the evidences left at the crime scene, because they have no finger- printing kit and no DNA testing capability. In other words, they are helpless against criminals because they are not properly trained nor equipped.

During the briefing at the Kuting Reef Resort Castañares had appealed to media to focus on the strengths and not the weaknesses of the province. That is well taken, but we already have such propaganda machinery in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and we believe they are doing a good job. The Fourth Estate cannot, and should not, be held accountable to any entity whatsoever.

Although we believe we can eventually transform Southern Leyte into a tourist destination we strongly feel we should put our own house in order first.

The chamber could start the ball rolling by helping our Provincial PNP establish a modern crime laboratory so our law enforcers won’t have any more excuses for not doing their job.












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