MANILA, November 4, 2003 (STAR) Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon will lead the list of tourism "stars" in the Asian region who will be honored today in Bangkok, Thailand by TTG Asia, the most established regional travel trade newspaper, for their remarkable contributions in helping the tourism industry at the height of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis this year.

Gordon, who is also chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, has been recognized by TTG Asia for his leadership in advocating the responsible issuance of travel advisories by developed countries on Asian countries during the SARS crisis.

TTG Asia media managing director Darren Ng acknowledged that the biggest heroes of SARS are those who battled at the frontlines and risked their own lives in order to save lives. "But we will not let the remarkable individuals and organizations of our own industry go unnoticed, for they inspire and provide us with hope and confidence for the future," he said.

At the height of the crisis, Gordon called for cooperation among Asian nations with respect to health protocols and joint marketing and promotions campaigns. "It was important for the region to avoid stigmatization and restore confidence quickly," Gordon said.

Gordon’s "3-2-1 GO CENTRAL LUZON" takes work to the people (BULLETIN)

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, concurrent cabinet officer for Regional development (CORD), recently unveiled his ‘take the work to the people” plan to energize the economy of Central Luzon.

Dubbed “3-2-1 Go Central Luzon,” the concept integrates the region’s three airports and two seaports into a single, powerful economic hub, intended to be the forerunner for similar hubs in Mindanao, the Visayas and elsewhere to create wealth and opportunity in areas currently struggling for self-sufficiency.

Pointing to the region’s infrastructure, Gordon said, “we have assets that most parts of the world beg for, we need to integrate them into a single economic hub with the help of local communities, and provide legal, logistical and financial support to make it happen.”

The project is part of Gordon’s visionary leadership since 1971, when he was the youngest delegate to that year’s constitutional convention (Con-Con).

The first stage of the plan came into fruition in 1992, when the United States bases were finally closed and Gordon led the world’s and most successful military based conversion and helped establish Clark Special Economic Zone, another key element in the plan to boost Central Luzon’s economy.

At the core of the 3-2-1 plan are the region’s three airports. Manila, Subic and Clark and two ports, Manila and Subic, and the roads, current and future, between them, which together make for a world-class transport infrastructure that will not only generate wealth for North and Central Luzon but also relieve pressure on Manila.

With companies encouraged to use Clark and Subic airports, and the seaport at Subic, a lot of pressure can be lifted from Manila’s struggling infrastructure, with a number of spin-off effects, including reduced pollution in the capital.

But other benefits may just be as important, “Bringing work to the people brings enormous savings to them, and not just in travel costs. It means that parents have more time to be with their children and inculcate cost values and participate in education, it gives them back their family.”

Employes will also benefit: less stress and less travel time means better workforce performance, a lower cost of living and working means lower labor costs.

The current widening of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark Highway, a project of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is a further enhancement of the original version to invigorate the Central Luzon economic and bring the work to the people.

In turn, businesses in the participating communities, construction companies to sari-sari stores, will see their income boosted by several orders of magnitude and of course, local government incomes will increase their ability to provide the public works they need to serve their constituents effectively. (Lynda B. Valencia/PNA)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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