MANILA, Oct. 23 — Senator Loren Legarda today led the groundbreaking of the Aklan Tourism and Trade Investment and Promotions Center at the Aklan Provincial Capitol in Kalibo.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance who allotted the funds for the said project, stressed the importance of tourism and trade in spurring local economy and boosting rural livelihood.
“Through this Trade and Tourism Center, the local government can promote sustainable eco-tourism tours, cultural and historical tours, and provide more livelihood opportunities especially in rural communities. Programs of the center should be implemented together with related laws such as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Law, the Barangay Kabuhayan Act and the Tropical Fabric Law,” said Legarda, author of the laws mentioned.
“MSMEs are powerful platforms for promotion of viable rural livelihoods, cultural preservation, socio-economic empowerment of indigenous communities, and environmental protection,” she said.
The MSME Law provides support for MSMEs by mandating lending institutions to set aside at least 8 percent of their loan portfolio for micro and small enterprises. The Barangay Kabuhayan Law mandates TESDA to provide livelihood and skills training for 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities. The Tropical Fabric Law promotes the local fiber industry and helps weaving communities as it mandates the use of the country’s natural fabrics for official uniforms of government officials and employees.
Legarda also said that the province of Aklan and her home province of Antique can work together to promote programs for eco-tourism and historical tours as well as MSME development.
“Weaving centers and handicrafts enterprises are examples of MSMEs which prove that embracing our rich heritage and advancing sustainable development translate into jobs, incomes, and livelihoods. Aklan, Antique and he whole Panay island is filled with cultural treasures. Weaving, eco-tourism and cultural tourism are industries fit for MSMEs promotion. There should be parallel efforts to support MSMEs through the implementation of the MSME Law and promote the cultural heritage and natural wonders of our region,” Legarda concluded.
For more information, visit http://lorenlegarda.com.ph.