Sulu gov hopeful for tourism as security situation improves

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star
Sulu gov hopeful for tourism as security situation improves
This August 29, 2021 photo from Radyo Pilipinas Jolo shows Bud Tukay, an eco-tourism park in Sulu province.
Radyo Pilipinas Jolo / Nashra Anni

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — When the pandemic is, over the provincial government of Sulu will face a different battle when it opens mountains where the Au Sayyaf used to operate to tourism.

Gov. Abdusakur Tan Sr. announced the plan during the courtesy call of Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio — acting Western Mindanao Command chief — over the weekend.  Ponio was there to give a briefing on the province after, where the military has been conducting continuing operations against terrorist groups.

"Finally our tourism is booming. People go out and enjoy our white sand beaches. The mountains that were previously infested with terror groups are now trekking sites," Tan told Ponio.

Tan said local tourists are now seen regularly trekking on Mount Tukay, Bud Talipao, and Mount Sinumaan, the mountains that the Abu Sayyaf group used to hide their captives or to seek shelter from military operations.

"Because of this turnaround and frequent eco-adventure tourism, many of the locals in the area are venturing into small-scale businesses, a positive opportunity for the people," Tan said, adding the province is preparing for visitors once tourism is allowed again. 

Tan said the province also offers the best of exotic fruits such as the native durian, mangosteen and sweet lanzones, aside from the fresh seafood which naturally abound in the province.

Ponio said that since an all-out offensive following the August 22, 2020 suicide bombing in Jolo, the military and local government units have been able to prevent the Abu Sayyaf group from launching terror attacks.

"My first time in Sulu was during my lieutenant days as a team leader of the Scout Rangers. Now, when I look at Sulu, it just feels different. Same majestic scenery, but totally safer," Ponio.

"We should keep in mind that this became possible not only because of our military offensives, but more on the effective partnership with the local chief executives," he added.




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