Bud Bongao, the highest peak of Tawi-Tawi province (Screengrab from Project Lupad/We Wander PH)

MANILA – The opening up of the tourism industry in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through an inter-regional airline route is a major feat in the region’s peace and order situation, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).

Galvez said the inauguration of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Cotabato City to Tawi-Tawi route, is a result of “hard work and collaboration” of the private sector, local government units, and the national government to secure long-lasting peace and further boost economic opportunities in the region.

“PAL’s Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi flight is among the dividends of peace, and a testament that the Bangsamoro region’s economy continues to gain momentum,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Aside from other economic interventions, Galvez cited that the tourism industry had helped the BARMM’s economy grow by 7.5 percent in 2021.

“It is really amazing considering that the country was still grappling with the effects of the pandemic,” he said. “By this alone, we are confident in saying that the region is now gearing up for the big time, as it opens its doors wide open for local and foreign investors who are interested to do business in the area.”

The inaugural Cotabato – Tawi-Tawi flight (PR 2487) took off from the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and touched down at Sanga-Sanga Airport in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi at 8:51 a.m. Thursday.

Each PAL Airbus A320 can ferry up to180 passengers one way and will operate Monday and Thursday -- PR 2487 Cotabato to Tawi-Tawi at 7:30 a.m. and PR 2488 Tawi-Tawi to Cotabato at 9:40 a.m.

Tawi-Tawi province offers pristine white-sand beaches and forest parks, among others.

OPAPRU assured peace and order won’t be a problem for tourists. (PNA)