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Zambo people's org receives DOT 200k-worth livelihood assistance

ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 1 (PIA) -- The Santa Cruz People's Organization in Zamboanga City received Php200,000.00 worth of community-based tourism organization livelihood assistance from Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Wednesday.

Frasco believes that the employment opportunities and revenue generation at the local level can increase tourism experience, enhance natural resources, protect them and the women, the persons with disabilities, senior citizens and youth are empowered to participate in local tourism integrities.

Sta. Cruz People’s organization, an umbrella organization for operators, women entrepreneurs, and tourist guides has been chosen by the Department of Tourism (DOT)-9 to be the recipient of the Php200,000.00 worth of technical and livelihood assistance of the DOT for capability training, souvenir production, provision of raw materials for souvenir items, provision for umbrellas for tourists, and provision of materials for additional yellow boats.

“Kami po ay nagpapasalamt sa tulong ng DOT. Malaking tulong po ito sa amin. Lahat po ay makikinabang,” said Hairal Taup, President of the recipient organization.  (We are grateful for the help of the DOT. This is a big help to us. Everyone will benefit from it.)

Taup expressed delight to the assistance they received, confirming how the provision will help them and their community in the services they give out to the tourists. As a response, being the representative of the organization, he committed to manage well the environment so that it can be enjoyed by the locals and tourists.

“Kahit napupuno po tayo ng turista, di po tayo nakaka-violate sa protocol ng protected area,” Taup said. (Even if we are filled with tourists, we are not violating the protocol of the protected area.)

Secretary Frasco praised the efforts made by the local tourism because of how they make sure that the sustainable tourism provides livelihood to their communities and how it strikes a balance between promoting the beautiful islands in the region as well as preserving it for future generations. DOT affirms the support of the national government to the local tourism.

“Nandito po kaming lahat, nakikiisa sa inyo sa pagbangon ng turismo sa Zamboanga Peninsula. Under the Marcos Administration, sabi ng ating Presidente, nais niya na ang mga benepisyo ng turismo, can really be felt sa ating mga kababayan, and that is why, we are expanding tourism development here in Mindanao, here in Zamboanga Peninsula and extending our hand of collaboration to both our LGUs as well as our partners in Tourism,” Sec. Frasco said.

(We are all here, joining you in the development of tourism in Zamboanga Peninsula. Under the Marcos Administration, our President said, he wants the benefits of tourism to be felt by our countrymen, and that is why, we are expanding tourism development here in Mindanao, here in Zamboanga Peninsula and extending our hand of collaboration to both our LGUs as well as our partners in Tourism.)

The DOT Secretary hoped that through the project, tourism destinations and its tourism offerings in ZamPen will grow even more knowing that additional boats can surely cater to the multitude of tourists that are now visiting the island.

Frasco also acknowledged the tour guides as she gifted them with kits containing some hat, bamboo sun glasses, bamboo tumbler, notebook, Belo sunscreen, and lapel.

“Para din sa ating tour guides, napaka importante ng trabaho niyo kasi sa pamamagitan ng tour guiding, nabibigyan natin ng story yung ating mga tourist destinations. Our tour guides tell the Filipino story and that is why we are also here to give our assistance to our tour guides, by giving you the things that you may need in order to do your job as efficiently and creatively as possible,” Sec. Frasco said. (Your work is very important because through tour guiding, we can give a story to our tourist destinations.)

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco visited Zamboanga City on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Tourism, Department of National Defense (DND), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to fully open up Mindanao to its tourism potential. This is in line with the current administration's vision to provide equal access to tourism development to all areas of the country. This collaboration is expected to boost the socioeconomic activity in Mindanao by generating employment and enhancing the region's over-all tourism experience.

The agreement among the three national government agencies shall set out the framework relative to the development of rural and insurgency-free communities and areas with tourism potential in the region, and other identified areas through the implementation of community-based tourism programs.

For its part, the DND will sustain the current peace and security programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by providing evaluation and recommendations in the prospective areas for tourism development.

The DILG, on the other hand, will sustain programs to ensure peace and order in tourist destinations by deploying tourism police personnel and coordinating with LGUs to train police auxiliary forces for tourist security.

In his address, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos stressed how misimpression of Mindanao affected the region for years as far as tourism is concerned, especially Zamboanga City.  Abalos noted that while the devastating 2013 Zamboanga Siege has greatly affected local tourism in the area, the situation is now far different.

“For the last six years, records will show zero cases of bombings here in Zamboanga City, zero cases of kidnappings here in Zamboanga City,” the Interior Secretary said, adding that Zamboanga City Police was also chosen as the best police station in the entire country.

Under the MOA, DOT shall be responsible for the development of tourism circuits, provide tourism product development to emerging destinations as well as the provision of training intervention programs and livelihood assistance to tourism communities and workers.

“Thank you so much for all of your support, thank you for all of your hard work, thank you for continuing to inspire us that the future of the Philippines lies in the hard work, the sacrifices, and the service of our tourism frontliners, and tourism communities,” Sec. Frasco said. (RVC/CCP/PIA9)

About the Author

Clennkei Peñalosa

Information Officer

Region 9

Clennkei C. Peñalosa is a member of the Subanen Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) who earn a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor degree. A content creator and writer, she writes news and feature stories in Zamboanga Peninsula and manages PIA9's social media platforms.

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