During the first ever Mindanao Tourism Convergence held in Zamboanga City on Wednesday (May 31), Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. emphasized how misimpression of Mindanao affected the region for years as far as tourism is concerned.
The case in point—Zamboanga City.
Secretary Abalos noted that while the devastating 2013 Zamboanga Siege has greatly affected local tourism in the area, the situation is far different now.
“For the last six years, records will show zero cases of bombings here in Zamboanga City, zero cases of kidnappings here in Zamboanga City,” the Interior Secretary said, adding that Zamboanga City Police was also chosen as the best police station in the entire country.
“So, this alone will destroy this misimpression. ‘Yon po ang kalaban natin, yung impresyon ng tao na hindi naman totoo, at ‘yon ang pagtutulungan nating lahat. Mindanao has so much to offer—resources, the culture, and most importantly, the people,” he added.
Zamboanga City Mayor Dalipe then also invited guests and would-be visitors to “take a leap and make Mindanao a shining example of the profound impact that tourism, socio-economic government and nation building can achieve.”
“We stand united in our belief in the transformative power of tourism. Tourism is not just about attracting visitors, it is a catalyst for socio economic growth and a pathway towards understanding and harmony among diverse communities,” he said in an address.
“As we put pen to paper, we symbolize our dedication to Mindanao’s peace, progress, and prosperity. Each stroke of pen signifies a step towards building a region that drives on the principles of inclusivity, sustainability, and shared opportunities,” he added.