Drop in Korean tourists seen
STA. ROSA CITY—The declaration of martial law in Mindanao may discourage some Koreans from visiting the island, the leader of a Korean community in the Philippines said.
Kang Chang-ik, president of United Korean Community Association in the Philippines, said the “war-like” situation in Marawi City might cause a decline in the number of Korean tourists visiting Mindanao, even if the tension was felt only in a “small part of the country.”
President Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law for 60 days last week following the conflict between the government and the Maute terror group in Marawi City.
Reports said close to a hundred had died in clashes that started on May 23.
The situation does not concern only Koreans.
“From what I heard, [there have been] a lot of canceled trips to the Philippines, through airlines and travel agencies. Tourists go to Vietnam, Thailand or Japan instead,” Kang said here on Monday.
According to Kang, there are no Koreans living in Marawi City, although some are staying in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Davao.
He said there were over 90,000 Koreans in the Philippines, many of them businessmen or exchange students living in Manila and other parts of Luzon.
Asked how Koreans in the Philippines felt about the political climate in Mindanao, Kang, who attended the launch of the Korean-Police Assistance Desk here last week, said they did not feel scared or threatened by the government’s imposition of martial law.
However, he said some Koreans might think the conflict in Mindanao had spread across the country.
“That’s why I am also talking with the Korean broadcasting [companies, telling them that martial law] does not matter in the Luzon area and in the Visayas,” he said.
In April, the South Korean foreign ministry issued a travel advisory for its citizens going to Bohol following the clash between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf group in Inabanga town.
“One thing we can do is explain [the situation] to them. I think very soon, it (conflict) will calm down and everything will be settled,” Kang said.
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