Binay to DOT: Counter ‘negative publicity’ of travel advisories vs Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines —Senator Nancy Binay has called on the Department of Tourism (DOT) to make necessary actions to correct the “negative publicity” on tourist destinations in Mindanao after the United Kingdom and Australia recently issued warnings that cautioned its nationals from visiting the region.
“Dapat magdoble-kayod ang DOT sa pag-counter ng negative publicity na resulta ng mga travel advisory,” Binay, who heads the Senate’s Committee on Tourism, said in a statement on Friday.
Following the New Year’s Eve bombing in front of a Cotabato City mall where two persons were killed and left dozens injured, the UK and Australian governments respectively issued travel advisories for Mindanao.
READ: UK issues travel advisory for Mindanao after Cotabato bombing / Australian gov’t issues advisory vs traveling to Mindanao
In their travel advisories, the UK and Australia cautioned their citizens from traveling to Mindanao, citing threats of terrorist activity and kidnapping.
Binay also urged the police and military to help ensure that accurate reports on security situations localities are provided to embassies of other countries.
“Of course, we have to respect these countries’ prerogatives in issuing advisories out of concern for their citizens. There are times, though, that these advisories are unnecessary and sometimes exaggerated,” she said.
Binay then noted that the burden lies on the government to convince tourists that the country is safe to visit and their welfare is a top priority.
“Kailangan may constant dialogue tayo sa iba’t ibang bansa. If we can, maybe let’s use mediators, their own nationals who are happy and satisfied tourists in our country to help dispel their misconceptions,” she said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said “it’s natural” for any government to issue travel alerts to ensure their citizens’ welfare and security. However, he insisted the deadly bombing in Cotabato City was “just an isolated case.” /muf
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