Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo yesterday lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for swiftly ensuring the safety of international and domestic visitors in Palawan, even as she reiterated her call for other countries to “be fair and reasonable” in issuing travel warnings.
Despite several adverse travel advisories against trips to Palawan recently, Teo stressed that the island province is "guaranteed a safe tourist destination" as declared by AFP and the PNP authorities.
“Prior to the issuance of this week’s travel advisories, police and military readily put security measures in place,” Teo pointed out.
Teo has repeatedly enjoined the governments and embassies of other countries to coordinate and take time to find out the actual situation and establish “clear and present danger” in any locality subject to prospective travel warning.
PNP Chief P/Director-General Ronald dela Rosa debunked unconfirmed reports of any terrorists’ presence in Palawan, particularly in the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a World Heritage Site visited by over one million tourists yearly.
Teo expressed confidence that Palawan, which has consistently been voted “World’s Most Beautiful Island” by international travel magazines, will continue to enjoy influx of foreign and domestic guests.
Also known to have a “zero-crime incidence,” Palawan caters largely to domestic tourists which comprised 65 percent, 718,486 of 1,104,830 total visitors in Palawan in 2016.
The top 10 international visitor groups of Palawan last year are: USA, 57,224; Taiwan, 46,796; China, 23,678; France, 21,993; Korea, 18,550; Germany, 15,816; United Kingdom, 14,373; Canada, 14,154; Australia, 13, 216; and Spain, 10,319.
The AFP and PNP have placed their respective security forces on high-alert since mid-April in the wake of military encounter with Abu-Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Bohol, foiling the bandits’ planned kidnap-for-ransom attacks.
Following the Bohol incidents, ground security forces, as well as the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard have been deployed in other tourist attractions including Palawan, Cebu and Boracay, according to AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo. END