by Homer R. Jajalla
MAHINOG, Camiguin, June 5 – Taking Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York as a model, Mantigue Island in Mahinog can be easily turned into a major ecological destination in this part of the country and contribute to the economic development of this 5th class town and entire province.
Thus declared Provincial Prosecutor Alma Concepcion M. Parreño during the pre-trial conference today at Mahinog municipal trial court which is hearing the criminal complaints filed by the municipal government against 24 families charged for violation of PD 1559 otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
The island should be first uninhabited but a little sacrifice should be done on the part of the remaining residents by leaving the island once and for all for the interest of progress and development in the whole province of Camiguin, the prosecutor said.
Liberty Island, best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island also best known as nation’s federal immigration station in operation until 1954, are two small uninhabited islands in New York flocked by tourists due to its popularity as universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
Visiting Mantigue then, once developed into an ecological reserve, can be exciting and memorable experience. Tourists flock to the island and in return can bring economic opportunities among the people in Camiguin, the public prosecutor further explained.
Efforts are still continuing to fully develop Mantigue island into an ecological site where its natural and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.
In the same pre-trial conference, the Municipal Government through the public prosecutor has offered anew a relocation site for Mantigue residents as part of the government’s bright relocation package and financial assistance being offered to residents.
The court gave respondents ample time to consider the offer of the government.
As this developed, two families have accepted the relocation offer and they are the families of Cerilo Saturos and Welson Saturos who promised to vacate the island right after the devotional fiesta of Mantigue on June 27, bringing down to 22 from 42 families originally residing in the island. (Mahinog Municipal Information Office)