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Proof of Zambo post-siege build-back? Successful bird fest hosting and win in regional athletic meet

Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar. FILE PHOTO
The online news portal of TV5

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The two-day 9th Philippine Bird Festival that drew big delegations from different parts of Asia and the city’s winning the Regional Athletic Meet in Dipolog City are proof that the city is on its way to recovering from the Zamboanga siege in September 2013, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said.

“Let us stand united and give better future to the children,” Salazar said after the elementary pupils from six public schools competed in the field demonstrations, featuring their colorful bird-inspired costume and props at Paseo del Mar.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) organized the event that opened Friday afternoon.

For his part, DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo Bungcato, Jr. shared DOT’s significant gains in its campaign to bring in foreign tourism, stressing that as of the latest count about 4.7 million foreign tourists visited the country last year which translated to USD4 billion in revenues.

“Tourism as an engine of growth is not only felt in Manila but all in many urban areas like Zamboanga City and the conduct of the Bird Fest in Zamboanga is very historic as DOT is now implementing the National Ecotourism Strategy and Action Plan,” Bungcato said.

He said the Bird Festival was very significant to this city’s efforts of finding peace.

“Because birds are messengers virtues the human beings should emulate; birds are messengers of freedom as they fly anywhere anytime they want to; birds are messengers of hope as their presence indicates the environment and ecology are in perfect shape and; birds are messengers of peace,” Bungcato said.

A record from DOT regional office showed that the activity has attracted 70-strong contingents from different parts of the country and Southeast Asia.

The contingents came from the Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Malaysian Nature Society, Wild Bird Society of Taipei, Amazing Journey Asia Media (Malaysia), Snarovski Optik (Singapore), Katala Foundation, Haribon Foundation, Birdwatch Palawan, Penagmannaki (Negros Oriental), Philippine Native Plant Society, Polillo Island Biodiversity Conservation, Earth Island Institute, Save Freedom Movement, City of Balanga, Province of Bataab, and 30 participants from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.

Highlighting the opening of the festival was the field demo competition participated in by pupils from Tetuan Central School, Catalina Vda de Jalon Elementary School, Boalan Elementary School, Sta. Maria Central School, and the Zamboanga East and West Central Schools combined.

Only one grand winner will be chosen for a prize of P20,000 while the non-winning schools will receive P5,000 consolation.

The most lively participant will receive P10,000.