PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: Residents of this city are reportedly clamoring for Mayor Lucilo Bayron to step down and give up his position to allow a more deserving local chief executive to steer the city to its former glory.
Region IV Tourism Director Becky Labit said tourism growth has drastically fallen down to 5 percent in 2013, from a growth rate of close to 30 percent in 2012.
The Manila Times received a report that six months ago, 26 commercial flights arrive daily in Puerto Princesa, disembarking thousands of tourists.
Presently, however, eight to 10 flights reportedly arrive each day, even during summer peak season.
Al Babao, a businessman who moved to this city in 1986 claimed, “Newly built malls are rife with empty store spaces. The few in existence are either closing or planning to close shop.”
Babao added that big investors from Metro Manila who have made commitments to the development of Puerto Princesa are shelving their plans until the city recovers.
The Police Regional Office here also reported an immense crime rate increase of almost 800 percent—from a monthly average of 36 reported crimes in 2012 to 283 in 2013.
In a phone interview, Mayor Lucilo Bayron said these accusations are all baseless, created to justify a plea for a recall election that his political opponent is allegedly preparing to file today at the Commission on Elections.
He confirmed that commercial flights reached a peak of 26 arrivals daily, but that was during the height of the campaign to include St. Paul Underground River in the New Seven Wonders of the World.
He maintained that, presently, 22 commercial flights arrived daily in the city.
Bayron, moreover, explained that the sharp increase in the crime rate is attributable to a new police reporting system where all crimes—petty or otherwise—are reported to police stations, including those which have been resolved in the barangay level.
A press conference is scheduled today at 9 a.m. at the City Hall where concerned stakeholders are set to report to journalists the present situation in Puerto Princesa City.