Gov’t committed to ensure tourists’ safety
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Despite the recent Jolo bombings that prompted the issuance of fresh foreign travel advisories on the Philippines last month, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured on Monday foreign tourists the government is committed to their safety and security in the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año stressed that security forces, particularly in Mindanao, would be “doing their best to contain” all threats in the area.
“I’m sure, even people in Mindanao will say that it’s peaceful in Mindanao and the exact places to avoid,” he told reporters in Manila.
Año was with Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat at the launching of the Department of Tourism’s refreshed slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.
During the press conference, he described as “misconception” perceptions that there are threats in the entire country.
“As I’ve said, the threats are just confined in isolated areas in Mindanao. That’s why it’s very important in the social media to get the message across to the international community that it is really safe here in the Philippines and more fun in the Philippines,” he said.
“So we will advise foreign tourists upon their arrival where to go and if ever they will go to some areas, we will make sure that they are safe,” he added.
At present, the DOT is trying to focus on domestic tourism to at least cushion the impact of foreign travel advisories, specifically in Mindanao.
“On how we are going to mitigate it, we’re just going to continue on our strategy to beef up our domestic tourism promotions. Even with all the Mindanao regional directors, we’ve grouped together, and you know, we’re really working on domestic because we see that their arrival is consistent,” DOT Northern Mindanao Director Marie Elaine Unchuan said in a recent interview.
Mindanao, the country’s second largest island, is home to idyllic destinations, award-winning heritage sites as well as trove of well-preserved traditions and cultural treasures.
In Northern Mindanao alone, two ASEAN Heritage Parks are located –Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in BUkidnon and Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park in Misamis Occidental. (PNA)