ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 3 December) – The Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Tuesday the “Regatta de Esperanza” (Regatta of Hope) in a bid to revitalize the local tourism industry as well as to provide short term employment to Badjaos displaced by the September siege in this city.
DOT Regional Director Mary June Bugante said the Regatta de Esperanza is not the typical series of boat races but rather a display of colorful vinta sails as an added attraction at the scenic Paseo del Mar.
Located at the back of the historical Fort Pilar, the Paseo del Mar is this city’s newest premier promenade by the sea.
Aside from revitalizing the tourism industry, Bugante said that 20 Badjao men have been employed through the Regatta of Hope.
Bugante said that each of them will receive a salary based on the daily minimum wage law for the duration of the event.
Their main job is to sail at the shore of Paseo del Mar with colorful vinta sails to entertain visitors and local folks for six hours a day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to Bugante.
The Regatta de Esperanza, which is in coordination with the city government, is set to end on the 15th of this month.
Bugante said they have also provided short term employment to at least four Badjao seamstresses who designed and sew the colorful sails with materials provided by the DOT.
“This Regatta de Esperanza is our contribution to the efforts to help alleviate the plight of the displaced Badjaos,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar disclosed they are looking into the possibility of making the Regatta of Hope as a permanent added attraction at the Paseo del Mar.