Gifts, letters by thousands flood Tourism Month G-Mall tribute concert for troops in battle zones

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley (Sept. 19) – Small gifts and thousands of letters penned in multi-colour by children all over the province overflowed collection boxes during the Tourism Month tribute concert at Gaisano Mall in this capital town in support of government troops engaged in battle zones throughout the country.

The provincial government through the provincial tourism office is deeply involved in peace-building through the development of the Camp Manuel Yan, Sr. Eco-Military Park and Tribal Village inside the 100-hectare headquarters of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in barangay Tuboran, municipality of Mawab., 12kilometres from Tagum City.

The small gifts and letters written by school children from all over the province will be sent to our troops to express our heartfelt support to their fight for peace,” provincial tourism officer Christine Dompor said.

REY The September 15 Gaisano Mall night event featured messages from student leaders, local officials, and civilian groups,  the military band of the 10th ID, a military static display, display of military tanks, armory, and scores on men in uniform. Families and shoppers proudly posed for pictures with the milling soldiers all visible in their military uniform and tanks.

The concert is our way of honouring our brave soldiers. We are happy that hundreds of people, young and old have turned up, which means that we prize peace and thankful for the men and women in uniform sacrificing their life for us,” Dompor said.

According to a 2010 data from the 10th ID, Compostela Valley topped the list of the most number of barangays affected by insurgency and 134 or 57% of its 237 barangays were under military insurgency watch and 61 or 36% were heavily infiltrated.  By 2015, the number went down to only 6 percent. The same year, the military command declared Compostela Valley as conflict-manageable and development-ready (CMDR) area alongside Davao del Norte and Davao City were similarly declared in 2015.

Compostela Valley reportedly hosts the most number of communist fronts in the country, the provincial tourism officer said. “Despite this, the province is relatively peaceful. You wouldn’t know if anything is amiss. Visitors continue to come in and enjoy what we have to offer,” she noted.

To prove her point, Dompor said Compostela Valley achieved Davao region’s highest growth in tourist visits in 2015 with 84.4 percent, from 112,079 tourists in 2014 to 206,648 tourists in 2015.  Following Compostela Valley was Davao del Norte with a growth of 19 percent, from 581,903 tourists in 2014 to 692,145 tourists in 2015.  (jra/ pgo-tss/ids)