Transforming the 10th ID camp into an ECO-MILITARY TOURISM PARK

The place is called Camp Manuel T. Yan, the headquarters of the 10th  Infantry (Agila) Division of Eastern Mindanao. The camp is named after Yan,  the former Armed Forces chief-of-staff, who oversaw the signing of the GRP-MNLF peace process in 1996. It is less than ten  kilometers from the town proper of the municipality of Mawab, Compostela  Valley  and  almost the same distance from Tagum City in Davao del Norte.

The  camp is the western flank of Barangay Tuboran in Mawab. It covers more  than 100 square hectares of rolling hills, pockets of forests, valleys,  known and unknown flora and fauna, and abundant springs.  It  has a history of bitter and bloody military-communist clashes until the  rebels fled their then regional party headquarters in the site, never  to return.  Yesterday’s battlefield is today’s promise for a lasting peace through eco-tourism.

The  command, headed by Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia, has begun opening its doors  to civilians to give them the opportunity to discover the secrets of  this biggest army camp in the region. No, the secrets are not related to  perceived military cloak and dagger; activities inside the sprawling  camp.               The  secrets are more about the wealth of eco-tourism potentials inside the base.

They include, the Mahayahay cave, a rubber plantation on one of  the hills, a wild deer and bird sanctuaries, for local government units dash;  a model waste management system,  a bamboo and lawaan forests, panoramic view decks, and challenging trails.

To complement these natural riches, the 10th ID welcomes guided tourists with their unique marching band music and tours to unrestricted areas.

A number of plans have been laid out for the future development of the ecotourism potentials of the site.   Even  before drafting any plan for the site, Maj. Gen. Segovia has been very  cooperative to tap the existing attractions of the camp for visitors.

Officials of Compostela Valley’s tourism department led by Christine T. Dompor had conducted initial tours that feature a trek to the cave of  Mahayahay. They have also received queries from as far as Manila about our  ecotour, particularly that of the cave which is inside the camp’s quo.

Governor  Arturo T. Uy, who discussed and agreed the improvement of the site with  Segovia a few months back, is looking forward to seeing the  camp as a major ecotourism destination in the future.

On  the other hand, Segovia, a nature lover, desires to include the  indigenous peoples of the province in the plan by building a tribal  village at a still unidentified place.

In  a meeting last June with representatives from the province and the  camp, Maj. Gen. Segovia said his command wished to show the people that  the military camp was not detached from the civilian community and that  it was part of the community.

The 10th ID park concept underscored the mission of the military based on the Constitution.   The  mission of the AFP as mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution is  to defend the People and the State. In pursuance of this mission, 10th  Infantry Division will continue to conduct peace and development  operations to preserve an environment of peace and stability conducive  to economic growth and development, the concept statement said. This  constitutional duty also brings us to the shared prime social  responsibility of promoting ecological balance in Region 12 and part of  Region 11. In this hallowed ground, the soldier and the community can  best be portrayed as living with wildlife as neighbors, it added.

In  line with this and part of the campaign to develop the eco-tourism  potentials of the camp, the provincial government, the municipal government of Mawab, and the 10th ID command officially launch on August 12 the initial ecotourism package available to visitors.

The  launching was highlighted with the signing of a Memorandum of  Understanding by Governor Uy represented by Exec. Asst. Belo Melendres,  Maj. Gen. Segovia, and Mawab Mayor Evalina Jampayas represented by Vice-Mayor Ruprio Gonzaga at the 10th ID grounds and a tour to the  initial ecotourism sites.  SP Members Neri Barte and Augusto Blanco,  SHARE President Zosillee Yanong, national line agencies, Mawab officials  and other stakeholders also join the launching.



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