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FVR tours Socsargen, refreshes peace in Mindanao

Polomolok, South Cotabato (22 February) -- Revitalizing peace advocacies in pushing environment-friendly tourism in Mindanao, former President Fidel V. Ramos toured Sarangani, General Santos City and South Cotabato in his three-day visit here during the weekend.

The first two days was also an occasion for the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation, Incorporated (RPDEV) chaired by the former President to promote sustainable tourism in the region.

"The hope of Sarangani and General Santos City is not the tuna industry, but tourism and agriculture," Ramos said during his arrival at Sarangani provincial Capitol Friday (February 19).

Ramos graced the Philippine Conference on Eco-tourism and Eco-productivity seminar- workshop in the Lemlunay Dive Resort in Maasim town, Sarangani in the afternoon where he said "our natural resources are in place. All we have to do is dare to make the first step and make a difference."

For his part, Governor Migs Dominguez urged local officials and investors to begin thinking as one region and not as many islands at a similar conference in Koronadal on Saturday.

"Let us, together as one region, start branding as a tourist destination and transform our resources into a product," Dominguez said.

"Let us change the image of Mindanao by telling ten success stories for every one single story that saddens it."

In Sarangani, visitors? arrival surged up to 350,000 in each of the past three years and tripled its guests during provincial festivals, according to the provincial tourism office.

"Many envies Sarangani. You are a rich province because you have enough in life starting with education and harmony between the Christians and the Muslims," Ramos said.

A landmark infrastructure project in the province was the construction of the artery concrete road funded by the United States Agency for International Development connecting Sarangani?s seven towns under the Ramos administration.

Ramos did scuba diving at the Sarangani Bay ?s Tinoto Reef from Lemlunay Dive Resort in Maasim town early Saturday morning. Dive master Dennes Villalva said Ramos wanted to go down 100 feet as he enjoyed diving. Lemlunay Dive Resort, formerly South Point Divers, is a world-class all-season dive spot in the country.

"We Filipinos are naturally hospitable as we are rich in natural resources. Let us enhance our environment to make it more enjoyable and think about the better future of the young ones," Ramos said.

On Sunday, Ramos played an honesty game with club members of the Kalsangi Golf Club in Polomolok where he had informal discussions on investments with businessmen in the region.

Ramos, for the third time since he arrived in Socsargen (South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos City), showed Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gibo Teodoro?s green wristband while being hosted by Governor Dominguez, Lakas-Kampi-CMD national president. Ramos is co-founder and chairman emeritus of Lakas-CMD. (PIO Sarangani/PIA SarGen) [top]

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