MATI, Davao Oriental– Sharing the same tourism highway and a goal for growth, the provinces of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur finally break borders and agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation through sharing of resources and adopting common actions to boost the tourism industry.
This developed after officials of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur vowed to strengthen partnership to draw tourism investments and attract more visitors.
Surigao del Sur Vice Governor Manuel O. Alameda, Sr. emphasized on stronger links with Davao Oriental as a great advantage that includes a widespread promotion that both governments are working on.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon said a united effort of establishing the tourism corridor can set advantages with each province’s unique attractions.
To start the blueprint of a unified tourism endeavor, Surigao del Sur officials crafted a resolution for the creation of the Davao Oriental–Surigao del Sur Tourism Highway. They listed several potential strategies and schemes that can be adopted by both provinces. This would require a strong support from the Department of Tourism (DoT) to officially establish the tourism highway and to facilitate extensive promotional efforts through the conduct of exhibits and production of promotional materials.
Aside from DoT, they will also ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the establishment of rest areas along the national highway between the two provinces, production of road signage detailing distances of tourist destinations, and street lighting.
“Through the integration of our tourist destination, we can entice more tourists to stay longer in both provinces and provide a wide variety of attractions for them to see,” said Surigao del Sur Board Member Conrad Cejoco.
While both government units are bounded by law to limit expenditure, Surigao del Sur officials urge their counterparts in Davao Oriental to also pass a similar resolution which would tap and secure funding support from national agencies, particularly the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for possible tourism infrastructures for both areas.
Cejoco added that efforts on linking were not a new concept as both provinces were already interconnected by trade and industry, as well as culture, dialect and even familial relations. “This is now the time to reaffirm and renew these ties between our provinces,” he said.
Malanyaon expressed support to Surigao del Sur’s proposal. She noted ‘the need to start right with our development’. She emphasized setting the standards to attract the private sector to invest, thus, increasing economic enterprise of the provinces.
“While we want to continue to attract more visitors, we need our provinces to create a kind of development that our people can truly patronize and at the same time continue to provide a good experience for the growing numbers of tourists.”
Davao Oriental has already been developing eco-tourism sites and parks and set the foundation for world-class development standards of tourism-related projects such as the Subangan Provincial Museum in Mati City, Pintatagan Welcome Park and Dalansa CruzShrine inBanay-banay, Aliwagwag Falls Eco Parkand Riverview Parkin Cateel, Sunrise Boulevard in Baganga, Pacific View Park in Boston, Mt. Hamiguitan Eco-Park in San Isidro, Pusan Point in Caraga, andCape San Agustin Eco Park in Governor Generoso.
The two province’s commitment to strengthen partnership followed the significant settling of border dispute last March when they signed a ‘Compromise Agreement’ signifying the closure of the long standing boundary dispute involving some barangays on the borders of the two provinces.