Candaba, Pampanga's 2nd Ibon-Ebon festival
Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon will grace the 2nd Ibon-Ebon Festival in Candaba, Pampanga to promote awareness on the importance of protecting and promoting biodiversity while encouraging the people to become more productive.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate tourism committee, will be this year's guest of honor. Last year, no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the guest of honor at the festival's opening ceremonies.
When he delivers his inspiration message, Gordon is expected to discuss the importance of developing the country's eco-tourism to generate more jobs as the country's economy begins to feel the effects of the global financial crunch
"Tourism means job. Eco-tourism in Candaba has a potential to become another major industry in the municipality that will provide more jobs and revenues for its residents and the government," he said.
The opening ceremonies of the Ibon Ebon Festival, which will run from Feb. 6 to 7, will be held at the Genuino Park in Barangay Poblacion in Candaba, Pampanga.
Candaba is fast becoming the country's favorite birdwatching site among local and foreign tourists.
Gordon, a former tourism secretary, has been batting for the development of the country's tourism industry to provide more jobs, which, according to the Ibon Facts and Figures, is expected to reach 11 to 12 million this year.
He filed the proposed Tourism Act of 2008 which seeks to establish "tourism enterprise zones" in strategic areas in the country aimed at enticing foreign investors and tourists to visit places rich with history and culture.
The bill, now in the Senate-House bicameral conference committee, also proposes to reorganize the Department of Tourism and its agencies to make it better equipped to undertake a consistent and effective tourism development and promotions plan.
Gordon is also widely credited for introducing "Wow Philippines!" which lured foreign and local tourists, generated jobs, and increased revenues at a time when the country was faced with problems, such as kidnappings and the severe acute respiratory syndrome disease.
The Philippines, through Gordon's brainchild, "Wow Philippines!" program, has generated more jobs from 668,000 jobs in 2001 to 693,000 to 749,000 2002 and 2003, respectively.