The Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) has assured that the Philippines remains on a business as usual mode, despite the killing of some 46 individuals in the Southern province of Maguindanao.
Despite the alarm caused by the incident, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano assured stakeholders of the tourism industry that the Philippines remains an ideal destination for tourism activities, business meetings and conferences.
The tourism chief made the assurance following the directive of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo putting the Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency, aimed at speeding up the investigation and arrest of the individuals involved in the incident.
The directive also places authorities including the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on full alert to prevent any untoward incidences in said areas.
Durano stressed that the incident is isolated and confined to the three areas, and does not involve tourism spots frequented by travellers.
He said that the country’s major tourist destinations such as Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City, among others, remain safe and open for foreign and local visitors.
He enjoined members of the travel and tourism industry in avoiding confusion in the country by providing accurate and up-to-date advisories to both the Filipino public and international guests.
“The incident in Maguindanao is an isolated case and should not hamper the tourism promotion activities of the government,” Durano said.
He noted that travel services to and from the Philippines are continuous and that services for local and international guests are available.
For information on the exotic, 7,107-island Philippine archipelago, visit www.experiencephilippines.ph or contact the Philippine Department of Tourism in Los Angeles at 213-487-4525, San Francisco at 415-956-4060; New York at 212-575-7915 or Chicago at 312-782-2475.