By Philippine News Agency
KORONADAL CITY–Senator Nancy Binay hailed on Wednesday South Cotabato’s resilience and continuing economic growth amidst various challenges affecting parts of Mindanao.
In her keynote speech at the culmination of the 2018 T’nalak Festival and the province’s 52nd foundation anniversary celebration, Binay said the province showed that it can continue to thrive and remain peaceful and progressive through unified efforts of local leaders and stakeholders.
“There is so much to thank for the progress and development of this province. I know that there are much more potentials that need to be unlocked further,” she said at the packed South Cotabato Sports Complex here.
Binay, who chairs the Senate committee on tourism, said the province could eventually develop as a center of industries and tourism in the region, as well as in “creating jobs and bringing income to the people.”
She said these could be realized with the full utilization of the province’s top “natural attractions and rich soil.”
Proof of this, she said, is the world-class quality pineapples and banana that are currently exported by local producers.
Binay said the province could further expand its thriving agriculture sector, especially in the production of corn, rice and various food crops.
In terms of tourism, the senator said the area’s destinations as well as rich indigenous culture, especially of the Tbolis and Blaans, have already been making waves in the international scene.
She also cited the province’s famed T’nalak fabric, mainly produced by tribal “dreamweavers,” as “a symbol of the history and potentials of the province. It shows the tightness of your communities in facing challenges, and the diligence and creativity of your people.”
The final day of the festivities on Wednesday, which is a special non-working day in the entire province, was highlighted by the traditional tri-people grand parade and streetdancing showdown — the Madal Be’ Lan for the indigenous people, the Kadsagayan Alalan for the Muslims and the Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan for the settlers.
A grand fireworks display and concert top billed by popular artists and bands led by Bamboo, Callalily and South Border will cap the celebration.
Now on its 19th year, the T’nalak Festival is considered as one of the biggest annual celebrations in Region 12 or Soccsksargen.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the festival demonstrates how the province has evolved since its creation 52 years ago.
“This is also about us, what we are as a people of South Cotabatao. We are province with strong cultural ties and people who are proud of where we came from,” she said.