COTABATO GOVERNOR Emmylou Talino-Mendoza called on town officials to take steps in developing their respective tourism destinations, citing the success of other localities in bolstering the province’s competitiveness through increased visitor arrivals. Last year, the province was awarded by the Department of Tourism-Region 12 as the most improved local government unit in terms of tourist arrivals. One example she cited was the zipline in New Israel, Makilala, which was developed through the Department of Energy while the provincial government provided P132 million for the construction of the 4.8-kilometer road from the national highway to the site. “So far economic activities have been active in New Israel. Residents were able to install photo booths for tourists, three carinderia stalls (eateries) and 31 sari-sari stores. Because of the zipline, employment was also made available to 60 local tour guides, six security guards and 15 zipline staff,” Ms. Mendoza said during her State of the Province Address last week. Other sites that have been developed include the Pisan Caves in Kabacan, Lilongan Cave and Eco-tourism Park in Carmen, Kirungdong Eco-tourism Park in Magpet, and the Matigol Falls in Arakan, among others. Ms. Mendoza said the provincial government has allocated P92.5 million for various tourism projects from 2012 to 2018 and is ready to assist other municipalities in developing potential sites in their areas. — Maya M. Padillo