Because of its INCOME
In 2013, Aklan ranks first out of 80 provinces in the Philippines with highest share of local income to total regular income, with a rating of 45.3%. In 2014, the Province of Aklan ranks No. 14 out of 80 provinces with highest Special Education Fund collection to fund the operations and maintenance of public school, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and sports development.
Because of its TOURISM INDUSTRY
The province of Aklan is consistent in significantly contributing to the national economy in 2014. Tourist arrivals in the Province reached 1.6 million contributing tourists receipts of more than 40 billion. The regular surge of tourists in the province translates to job creation and employment generation that contributes to the country’s overarching goals of poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.
Aklan is most famous for Boracay, a resort island one kilometer north from the tip of Panay. It is known for its white sandy beaches and is considered as one of the more prominent destinations in the country. Kalibo Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival has also been known worldwide, hence declared “The Mother of all Philippine Festivals.” It is a feast held annually in January in honor of the Sto. Niño (Infant Jesus), concluding on the third Sunday. The festival showcases tribal dancing through the town’s main streets to the tune of ethnic music, with participants in indigenous costumes and gears.
Because of its INFRASTRUCTURE and UTILITIES
The allure of Boracay Island and Ati-atihan Festival to both local and foreign tourists lead to frequent air travels through the province’s 2 airports in Kalibo and Caticlan. The Kalibo International Airport is considered the fastest growing airport in the Philippines in terms of passenger traffic with more than 50% growth in 2010, and 2nd fastest for seats offered for June 2014 over the corresponding month of the previous year (20%). The airport is classified as an international airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and now caters to both domestic and international flights in the capital town. On the other hand, the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan has been upgraded to international standards by Transaire Holdings, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation through a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) scheme. The Caticlan Port is the busiest among the four seaports in the province as it is not only the gateway to the famous island of Boracay but also the entry point to Panay Island as part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway.
Aklan road networks are well in place with the well-maintained national and provincial roads. Concreted and sand and gravel farm to market roads are constantly improved. The Provincial Government is opening roadways such as the Aklan circumferential and by pass roads for seamless travel experience within the province. Development and construction of new bridges are also being carried out with the goal of linking tourist destinations. There is a presence of renewable energy such as the wind farm in Nabas and hydro power projects in Madalag Aklan.
More so, the province has numerous health facilities, 8 of which are Government Hospitals, 4 are Private Hospitals, Private Medical Clinics sum up to 213, a total of 19 Rural Health Units and 109 Barangay Health Units. Aklan is also home to more than a couple of educational centers. It has 8 Public Tertiary Schools, 6 Special Vocational Schools, 5 Technical Vocational Schools, 3 Graduate Schools, 61 Secondary Schools and 320 Elementary Schools. Financial Institutions include 35 Commercial and Government Banks. The Public Communication/Media Facilities include 3 Telephone Exchanges, 7 Radio Stations w/AM/FM, 5 Cable TV Companies.
Because of its LIVELIHOOD
Aside from its vibrant tourism industry, farming is the basic livelihood in the interior while fishing is the basic livelihood in the coasts. The province posts potentials in the production of high valued and fibre crops. Aklan depends greatly on agriculture. The massive and sustained education and research in agriculture production, the implementation of national program in agriculture, well-established marketing strategies, as well as the support of the agribusiness industry and other private and non-government sectors, result to better production and higher income of the farmers. Palay is still the number one crop grown in the province. The total area planted with rice is 42,218 hectares effective area, or 0.39 percent of the total agricultural area of the province. Coconut also occupies a huge area planted among major permanent agriculture crops. The total area planted with coconut is 32,276 hectares. Aside from palay and coconut, other major crops that contributed to uplift the economy of Aklan are being developed. These are high valued crops with export potential, such as banana (Lakatan), mango, rambutan, and lanzones; and fiber crops.
Fishponds and offshore fishing also provides huge employment for Aklanons. Aquaculture constitutes a significant component in the province’s fishery industry. The province has a total fishpond area of 7,807.14 hectares. Aklan is also sufficient in meat and other livestock and poultry products.
Because of its MICRO, SMALL, and MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
One can find a dream possession in the province – the Piña cloth, considered as the “Queen of the Philippine Fabrics,” and other fineries made from it. The Piña cloth is considered a prime produce of Kalibo, weaved from its unique crude wooden or bamboo handloom that changed little from eight centuries ago. Aside from Piña, Abaca abounds in Aklan. Innovations were made out of this fabric to suit’ the demanding supply of the fashion market. Dyed abaca cloths are made into place mats, bags, wall decors, fans, etc. Piña and Abaca are two major products for export. More so, Lezo, one of the 17 municipalities of Aklan, is known for its red clay, which the natives use to make pots, vases and various novelty items. The people of Lezo have a means of livelihood because of the abundant supply of red clay provided by nature. Other livelihood products and produce include Loom, Copra, Raffia Cloth, Prawns, Crabs, Bangus, Processed Food Products, Furniture, Metal Craft, Bamboo Craft, Bricks, Weaved Hats and Mats, Gifts and Housewares.
Aklan is all that and MORE
The Armed Forces of the Philippines declared Aklan as an insurgency-free province. It has a Crime Solution Efficiency Rate of 96.19%. The province has an Employment Rate of 89.7% and the Provincial Government continues to aim for an increase through more investments.
Aklan is the investment haven to consider as there are a lot of investment potential in the province. Sectors and factors that could drive Aklan’s growth are the business process outsourcing-information and communications technology (BPO-ICT), vital infrastructure like the KIA, efficient internet connectivity, skilled manpower, an attractive business environment, a transparent local government and vast natural resources.
“Aklan is definitely heading in the right direction and undoubtedly has the potential to become one of the country’s major business hubs in the near term.” – Peter Wallace, Chairman and President of the Wallace Business Forum