South Cotabato, Cebu eye sisterhood ties

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/12 July) —The province of South Cotabato is seeking sisterhood ties with Cebu, which is known for its vibrant tourism industry, an official said today.

South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr. said that Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will be one of the main guests during the highlight of the annual T’nalak festival, which opened today.

This is the twelfth year for the province to celebrate the weeklong T’nalak festival, which will cap on July 18, South Cotabato’s 45th foundation anniversary.

“We will forge a memorandum of understanding for a sisterhood with Cebu. Gov. Garcia offered it because they want to help promote our tourism,” Pingoy said.

“If our Sangguniang Panlalawigan will approve the MoU, we will come to Cebu in August to formally seal the sisterhood agreement,” he said.

The governor noted that a sisterhood with Cebu will augur well for South Cotabato since the former is already known in the international and domestic tourism circuit.

He hoped that the sisterhood ties could help change the negative perception of those outside Mindanao against the province.

“We are very peaceful here, there is no trouble in our province. Our people are warm and friendly,” Pingoy said.

Among the activities lined up are trade expo, agro-industrial fair, Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan street dancing showdown, T’nalak festival parade or Madal Be’ Lan , motocross and Sinadya sa Dalan or Disco sa Kalye.

There will also be a Dayon sa South Cotabato for Balikbayans or those working or staying in foreign countries.

Pingoy said that at least 240 persons have signified intentions to join the Balikbayan Night on July 17.

He noted the Balikbayan Night was conceived as a strategy to promote the province’s investment and tourism potentials amid the negative travel advisories in Mindanao issued by countries like the United States and Australia.

When they come back to wherever country they work, they will be the ambassadors of goodwill of our province, Pingoy said.

As the province is in a weeklong festive mood, he urged the public to be vigilant against elements planning to sabotage the celebration.

At the Protech Center here, one may enjoy the night with live music while dining or drinking with friends.

There are also ukay-ukay stalls in designated places in the city. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)