MANILA, Philippines – After Canada, Australia and the United States banned travel to Mindanao, particularly to Cotabato, Davao and Zamboanga, authorities said they will step up efforts to make the region safe for locals and tourists.
According to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the intelligence groups of the Philippine National Police and the military will step up intelligence monitoring efforts in the south of the Philippines in order to thwart terrorist and criminal activities, especially with regards to kidnapping.
Check points will also be set up at Davao City’s entry and exit points, as well as in highly-populated downtown city areas.
“I do not question their (military and police) integrity, [or the] competence of their intelligence reports,” Duterte said. He added he will not belittle the advisories issued by the countries since they only want to protect their citizens.
“[The advisories have] nothing to do with us. Wala ako problema diyan,” he said.
“Ang sa akin lang, we are trying to beef up security measures. We are putting in place precautionary measures and check-points.”
Ad campaign cancelled
This week, the Philippine Advertising Congress cancelled an ad congress that was supposed to take place in Davao City in November. However, the organizers did not say whether the advisories issued by Canada, Australia and the US had anything to do with the cancellation.
The ad congress was expected to draw close to 5,000 visitors or delegates to Davao City.
According to Duterte, he was saddened by the event’s cancellation.
“We assure [everyone that] as far as humanly possible, [we are going to] protect the community and the people, and everybody else [who will visit here],” he said. - From a report by Bonna Pamplona, ABS-CBN Regional Network Group