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MinDA to meet with Canadian envoy over Mindanao travel warning

THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MinDA) would seek an audience with the Canadian ambassador to the Philippines and security sectors in connection to the recently released travel advisory on the southern island. 

During the Kapihan sa PIA on Jan. 22, Adrian Tamayo, MinDA public relations division chief, said MinDA chairperson secretary Maria Belen Acosta will meet the National Security Agency, Philippine National Police, and other security groups to tackle the travel warning.

“We have already been doing plenty of initiatives to embark Mindanao to the whole world,” Tamayo said. 

He also said the time and date of the discussion between the parties have not yet been confirmed but they “ensure to meet them urgently.”

Maria Belen Acosta, MinDA chairperson, said in a statement last Jan. 21 that the “uncomplimentary” travel advisories do not reflect the real Mindanao as “President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has, in fact, already rescinded the declaration of a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao, citing the improved peace and order situation in the region.” 

“Mindanao has posted a growth rate of 7.2% and a low crime rate average of 14%. In a recent survey, Mindanawons posted a trust and safety rating of 88% and 86%, respectively,” Acosta said. 

Tamayo also stressed indicators explaining peace gains in Mindanao including poverty reduction, maintained peace and safety security, and more job interests from youth rather than being engaged in violent extremism. 

“The basis of that travel advisory was the presence of terrorists, violent clashes, crimes like that, but nowhere in our monitoring over the last quarter did that happen. No violent clashes happened,” Tamayo said. 

The travel advisory of Canada, posted on its official website, which was updated last January 10, advised citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution (with regional advisories), due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping in the Philippines.”

The advisory also mentioned the risk in traveling to some parts of Mindanao island, as “clashes may occur between insurgent groups and security forces.” 

Canadian travelers were also urged to “avoid non-essential travel” in Caraga and Davao Region.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Año also said on Jan. 18, that travel advisories require “a more nuanced approach,” particularly if it’s for the safety of the citizens. 

He also called for a dialogue with Canadian officials in the Philippines for a further understanding of the security situation. 

“Such discussions will help ensure that travel advisories accurately reflect the current conditions of the Philippines,” he added.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines chairman Antonio Peralta also stressed that the travel advisory will severely impact the business and tourism sector in Mindanao.

“What is much more is the way we are being perceived in Mindanao. The chances of more advisories will make it more difficult for us to get out of the negative perception,” Peralta said. 

Peralta said the ECCP continuously extended their efforts to support and help regain the positive perception of Mindanao amid the travel advisory.


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