Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said he visited the island of Sicogon in Carles town to address the loss of livelihood suffered by locals from the suspension of development activities of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).
Defensor personally met with the village chairmen and village officials of Sicogon island to hear the issues and concerns.
“We had a meeting with our village chairmen last week because they are the avenue of our work on the island. I want to know the situation from them personally, that is why we asked a briefing from them,” he said in a media conference.
Last March 6, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ordered Ayala Land to stop the development activities on a disputed parcel of land claimed by farmers.
This has affected the income and livelihood of thousands of residents and workers, the governor said.
Defensor said he allowed the village chairpersons to air what they want to happen to the island because the province still has big plans for the area, especially on its tourism aspects.
“My work there (Sicogon) is like my work in the province. We have villages to help, and incidentally, there are developments there,” he said.
In an interview, Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita said: “majority (of the people in Carles) wants development, while a minority are opposing.”
He reiterated that suspension of the operations of the resorts and airport has a “domino effect” on the people, especially on business establishments and transportation. (PNA)