Ayala Land to launch Sicogon Island tourism estate development
The ALI-SIDECO joint venture is expected to drive economic progress in Western Visayas and the entire region as it serves as a tourism hub for surrounding or nearby destinations like Gigantes, Bantayan and Concepcion islands.
The 1,100-hectare Sicogon Island will feature a balanced mix of developments, such as a resort town center, hotels and resorts, as well as commercial and residential establishments, supported by an on-site airstrip. The ground breaking of the airport runway is scheduled for the second half of the year.
“The initial development will concentrate on building the airport and runway, to ensure accessibility to the island,” said Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni, ALI Senior Vice President and Group Head of Commercial Business. “The 1.3-kilometer runway will allow immediate access from Manila and Cebu to the island development,” he added, saying further that test flights to Sicogon are being targeted for the first quarter of 2017.
The project is supported by public, private and community organizations, and government bodies alike because of the potential economic benefits it will bring to the region. A framework agreement was signed by ALI, SIDECO, and the Federation of Sicogon Island Farmers and Fisherfolk Association (FESIFFA) in 2014 to pave the way for the sustainable development of Sicogon Island. The group has been assisting the local community through skills training and livelihood programs to make them active partners in the development.
“We strongly believe and hope that poverty alleviation will be achieved through tourism projects. These will give us various job opportunities and help us improve farming and fishing methods,” said Raul Ramos, President of FESIFFA.
Jalandoni stressed that sustainability will be a main focus of the project. Aside from allocating more than 50% of the development for open green space, ALI will also work with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to continue stewardship of Sicogon’s forested area, and work on coastal protection and marine life rehabilitation in support of sustainable development.
“More than becoming a premier tourist destination and a tourism hub for the region, Sicogon is envisioned to provide inclusive growth and economic development through long-term recovery and livelihood programs, and job creation,” said Jalandoni.
ALI estimates that the Sicogon Island development will provide 20,000 jobs either directly or indirectly with increased tourism, and approximately P1 billion in earnings for the community through business opportunities that will come from the retail and commercial establishments.