The local government of Kalayaan Group of Islands, which is part of the West Philippine Sea, has decided to open the area for tourism, Raffy Tima reported on Unang Balita on Friday.
Through the Great Kalayaan Expedition project, the Kalayaan municipal government aims to turn the West Philippine Sea into a tourist destination popular for game fishing and diving.
The expedition made its maiden voyage on Thursday afternoon using BRP Melchora Aquino, the largest of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels.
Onboard the BRP Melchora Aquino during the voyage were members of the technical working group of Kalayaan tourism including representatives from the Palawan Provincial Tourism Office and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, as well as game fishing and recreational diving experts.
"Ang aim po sa Great Kalayaan Expedition is to finally open the West Philippine Sea, ang ganda at ang lahat ng kayang i-offer ng West Philippine Sea, especially ang Municipality of Kalayaan pagdating sa kaniyang tourism resources," said Ken Hupanda, Kalayaan Municipal Tourism officer.
(The aim of the Great Kalayaan Expedition is to finally open the West Philippine Sea, especially the Municipality of Kalayaan, when it comes to their tourism resources.)
Aside from diving, the municipal officers are hoping that Kalayaan will also be known as the primary game fishing destination in the country.
Authorities, however, admitted that security remains an issue in the area amid the presence of Chinese vessels there. A briefing conducted by the Naval Forces West warned of the possibility of witnessing Chinese vessels.
"Marami tayong expected na sightings of Chinese vessels but we hope na magpu-pursue po itong project, na we'll reach its aim po na i-open ang West Philippine Sea for tourism," said Hupanda.
(We expect sightings of Chinese vessels but we hope that we'll still be able to pursue this project, to reach our aim of opening the West Philippine Sea for tourism.) —KBK, GMA Integrated News