GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 March) – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has approved the release of around P7.56 million in grants to fund the implementation of various tourism development projects in Region 12.
Nelly Nita Dillera, DOT Region 12 director, said such funding comprise the initial allotment for the region this year under the national government’s flagship Bottom-Up Budgeting or BUB scheme.
She said the grants will mainly fund the implementation of priority tourism projects in seven localities in the region.
The recipients are the municipalities of Sto. Niño, Tupi and Banga in South Cotabato; Lebak in Sultan Kudarat; Malapatan in Sarangani; and the cities of Cotabato and Koronadal.
“These are projects that have been adopted as top priorities by the recipient-local government units based on their tourism programs,” Dillera said.
Cotabato City will utilize its grant for the formulation of a tourism marketing plan, conduct of front office training for local tourism establishments, crafting of a product development plan for its Grand Mosque, rehabilitation of the old city hall building, and production of tourism promotional materials.
Sto. Niño will pursue the development of the local government-operated resort Bugtong Bukid while Lebak will develop a mangrove walk within the 700-hectare mangrove area in the coastal village of Taguisa.
Koronadal City will launch a skills development project that includes trainings on waitering, bartending and housekeeping, and a product development initiative for the area’s Bl’aan tribal villages.
Tupi town will further develop its tarsier sanctuary, Banga will put up a “corn village,” and Malapatan will formulate its tourism development plan.
Dillera said they earlier assisted the recipient-local governments in terms of their tourism development directions and on how to go on with the implementation of the projects.
She said they also met with stakeholders within the identified project sites to ensure their participation in the lined up initiatives.
“Local residents should be able to participate in the protection of nature and preservation of culture, as well as learn some tourism skills so they can also earn a living out of these projects,” she said.
Last year, the DOT funded 27 tourism projects worth P22.7 million in parts of the region under the BUB scheme.
Dillera said the projects were aimed at furthering development of existing tourism sites, opening of new projects, capability improvement of tourism frontliners, and the promotion and marketing of ready tourism products in the region.
These include the conduct of cave guiding training and purchase of basic caving equipment for Senator Ninoy Aquino town, and the establishment of a visitor’s center and pasalubong outlet in Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat; production of promotional materials on paragliding for Maasim town, and the production of marketing materials for Glan in Sarangani; establishment of a visitor’s information center and gallery at the old city hall of Cotabato; establishment of pomelo fruit park in M’lang, homestay training for Makilala, crafting of site development plan for Kansal Falls Eco Adventure Park in Kidapawan City, and establishment of a tourism information center with pasalubong counter in Aleosan in North Cotabato; and the formulation and implementation of a marketing plan for Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.