Teo: Leni remark, media reports on EJK make it hard to promote PH
BANGKOK—The country’s tourism chief admitted Wednesday that reports on extrajudicial killings are making it hard to sell the Philippines as a tourist destination.
Speaking to reporters here, tourism secretary Wanda Teo urged Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo and the media to “tone down” reports on extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration to boost tourism in the country.
Teo said reports on extrajudicial killings and human rights violations have raised security concerns among potential tourists.
“’Yung mga statements na ganoon, nahihirapan kaming i-sell ang Philippines so I hope we could kung puwede even…this does not only refer to VP Leni but also to the media to please medyo i-tone down natin yung [reports] on extrajudicial killings,” Teo told reporters in a press briefing here.
(Those kinds of statements make it hard for us to sell the Philippines as a tourist destination so I hope we could… this does not only refer to VP Leni but also to the media to please tone down the reports on extrajudicial killings.)
Robredo, in a video message shown during the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs annual meeting in Vienna, slammed the rise of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations under the Duterte administration.
Teo said she has “great respect” for Robredo but the Vice President’s statement raises security concerns among potential tourists, especially that the Philippines is now “an alternate destination in Asia and (for tourists from) Europe.”
“Because I am always asked whenever I go even in Asia and Europe, ‘Totoo ba ito (is this true)’ and I would say ‘It’s safe in the Philippines’ and I would always ask them to come,” she said.
“Sana i-tone down na lang ‘yung mga statement na ‘yun kasi nahihirapan talaga ako mag-sell [ng tourism],” she added.
(I just hope those kinds of statements are toned down because it’s really difficult to promote tourism.)
Despite the negative image portrayed against the Philippines, Teo said she was confident of seeing an increase in tourist arrivals in the country.
“In spite of that, I still see that more tourist coming to the Philippines from especially in China, Europe and Asia,” she said.
The tourism chief urged the media and critics of Duterte to help promote the Philippines as a tourist destination.
“Just help us, the Philippines. Help us because you know, it’s really difficult for me to sell the Philippines especially ‘pag napag-uusapan na ‘yung extrajudicial killings (especially when extrajudicial killings are being talked about),” she said
“I am always asked by tour operators who learned about this extrajudicial killings in the Philippines ‘is it true?’ and I would always say it’s safe in the Philippines. I would like you to invite there. Go to the Philippines and see for yourself,” she added. JE
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.