By Felix N. Codilla III
Ormoc City- Baybay City, known as a major tourist destination which had the highest number of visitor arrivals in Region 8 in 2015, celebrated its 10th Charter Day last June 16.
Mayor Carmen Loreto-Cari, recognized as the mother of its cityhood, outlined the accomplishments of the local government unit (LGU) under her term.
She said that Baybay is also known as a major tourist destination, having registered 647,045 visitor arrivals for 2015. That year, the Diocesan Shrine of St. Anthony de Padua was ranked first in the top 10 most visited attractions among the historical, religious and cultural sites.
Among the natural attractions, Lintaon Peak and cave ranked first while Bakwitan Falls in San Agustin ranked second. Visayas State University Garden Resort ranked sixth in the category of sports and recreational facilities. The city’s newest attraction is the 16,000 Blossoms in Lintaon Peak.
Cari emphasized the establishment of the Medical Diagnostic and Dialysis Center, the only facility of its kind in Region 8 operated by an LGU. The Department of Health (DOH) has committed to donate 10 more dialysis machines so that the center can service indigent patients from nearby towns.
In support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, Baybay established a Daytime Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Center, the first of its kind in the country for which the LGU was recognized by the DOH and Drug Enforcement Agency. The rehabilitation center’s first batch of patients will graduate this week.
After a decade of being a city, progress and development have become apparent in Baybay. What was once an idle 5th class municipality has transformed into an emerging agri-industrial corridor as investors continue to grow in number due to the investor-friendly policies and practices put in place by the LGU.
The biggest investors in Baybay are Specialty Pulp Manufacturing Inc. which buys abaca fiber from local farmers as raw materials; Visayas Oil Mill, a contract grower of cardaba banana and manufacturer of banana chips; and SC Global Coco Products Inc. which buys 200,000 de-husked nuts everyday from coconut buyers to manufacture and export virgin coconut oil, banana chips and coconut chips.
Cari said the occasion is significant as it was on that day in 2017 when the place was converted into a city by virtue of RA 9389 along with 14 other towns in the Philippines. The measure was controversial after the Supreme Court declared the measure unconstitutional only to overturn that decision in August 2010.
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