LAOAG CITY – Leisure travelers wanting to explore Apayao’s famed underground rivers, waterfalls, and verdant mountains are temporarily disallowed entry to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Apayao tourism officer Rebecca Tamaken-Mamba confirmed this on Friday as all tourist spots in Apayao are closed.
For the meantime, the hidden gems of Apayao dubbed as, Cordillera’s last frontier for nature’s richness, will remain exclusive for its residents until it is ready to welcome tourists again.
Like in various parts of the country, Apayao’s eco-tourism industry is among those widely affected by the pandemic restrictions.
Exactly a year now since Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang issued memorandum order no. 82, directing all mayors and the provincial tourism office to close down all tourism spots in the province, several displaced tourism workers have shifted to farming and fishing, and online selling just to make ends meet in this time of crisis.
“The decision to close down the tourism spots in the province is among the measures of the provincial government towards the prevention of possible case and transmission of Covid-19 within Apayao,” said the governor in a public statement.
With eased travel protocols, local officials have been directed to closely monitor their own turf and ensure the implementation of the said memorandum.
In support to the most affected residents due to pandemic, the Apayao government in collaboration with various government institutions such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority, and Department of Agriculture, among others, continue to provide free skills training, as well as livelihood support and financial assistance to affected residents.
As of February 2021, the Provincial Treasury Office reported a total of PHP5.4 million has been allocated to assist students, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and solo parents as they each received PHP5,000 worth of financial assistance.
This is apart from the additional PHP5 million congressional initiatives which benefited 998 individuals from its seven municipalities. (PNA)