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The NTF-ELCAC partnership successfully establishes tourism sites in the town of DavSur.

DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES – An official from Matanao, Davao del Sur, lauded the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) success in securing their hinterlands on Wednesday, as various tourism destinations sprouted in their municipality.

Clover In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Jane Sabornido, Matanao tourism office head, recalled how their town was once infiltrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) before becoming peaceful and ripe for tourism.

“Previously, Matanao was a no-go zone for the NPA, but we have opened various tourism sites that the public can visit at any time,” she explained.

For example, Sabornido stated that Barangay Asbang, a former NPA hideout, is now a tourism destination due to the presence of Su’Bon Cave.

Su’Bon cave opened to the public last April, drawing visitors despite the pandemic.

According to Sabornido, the cave is home to a variety of astounding and unique troglofauna and stygofauna that contribute to the ecosystem’s function and benefit the human population.

“I’m grateful for the NTF-ELCAC program. That is why our two barangays with major tourism destinations have become peaceful and inviting places to visit,” Sabornido explained.

The NTF-ELCAC is a government-organized task force tasked with responding to and raising awareness about the communist insurgency in rural areas.

It was established by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70, which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach to resolving the local communist armed conflict. It is a synthesis of various government agencies organized into 12 clusters, each with a distinct mission.

Sabornido invited residents of the Davao Region to discover Matanao and pay minimal entrance fees to various sites such as caves, waterfalls, and mountain ranges.

“I hope you have the opportunity to visit Matanao soon, preferably this summer,” she said.

The local government has identified over 20 caves, ten waterfalls, and numerous mountain ranges for tourists to visit in the area with the assistance of national agencies.

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