(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 18 June 2024) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southeast to South will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Saturday, 20 January 2024

Mindanao remains safe and peaceful - MinDA

By MinDA

With the recent travel advisory from the Government of Canada warning tourists to come to the country particularly in Mindanao, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Maria Belen S. Acosta said that Mindanao-island is safe and peaceful.

“We are disheartened to know of the recent advisories from Embassies strongly discouraging travels to Mindanao. Many of these advisories do not reflect the current situation in the island-region,” the MinDA chairperson added as she expressed disappointment on the representation of the island to other nations.

Acosta clarified that Mindanao is a work in progress, and there are incidents that cannot be controlled like any other transforming communities, but, she said that all those “do not warrant serious concerns.”

“Those are readily addressed and swiftly responded to by the government with the strong support of the communities, and the safety and security forces,” she said.

Last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has lifted the declaration of state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao, citing the improved peace and order situation in the region.

While there may still areas that require caution, Acosta assured local and international tourists that Mindanao is safe for travel for leisure and economic activities.

“Rest assured that we will continue to bring development closer to the communities through a whole of government approach,” she added.

Based on the advisory released by Government of Canada on January 10, 2024, tourists were avoided to travel to the following provinces of Mindanao island, due to the serious threat of terrorism, kidnapping, high levels of crime, and violent clashes between the security forces and rebel groups.

These are Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao), Northern Mindanao (Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental), Soccsksargen (Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat), Zamboanga Peninsula (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay). 

For Eastern Mindanao, the advisory urged tourists to avoid non-essential travel to the following – Caraga (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands Surigao del Norte, excluding Siargao Island and Surigao del Sur) and whole of the Davao Region except Davao City.

“The recent advisories will serve as a challenge to further strengthen our partnerships with our international partners including the diplomatic community in communicating that Mindanao is a land of peace, bounty, and beauty,” Acosta added.

Joji Ilagan Bian, the honorary consul of Bangladesh, and PCCI-Mindanao BIMP-EAGA chairperson said they were also disheartened over the recent travel advisory on 17 Mindanao provinces by a foreign embassy.

“We understand that it is the role of their government to remind their citizens of their welfare, however, the advisory does not reflect the real situation at the ground,” she added.

Bian emphasized that Mindanao and all its provinces continue to slowly usher the peace towards progress.

“The security and safety of everyone, for travel and leisure are guaranteed wherever they are in Mindanao,” she added.

Meanwhile, Bruce Augusto Colao, DILG provincial director of Lanao del Norte said they understand the State's concern for their citizens, however,  he bared that  it is not reflective of the real and actual peace and order condition or security threat situations on the ground.

"We feel slighted by the recent travel advisory issued by the Canadian Government  It is respectfully and humbly submitted that the Canadian Government recalibrate its options for its sources of information, intelligence or otherwise," he added.

Colao cited that Kyle Douglas Jennermann also known in the Philippines as "Kulas" of the widely popular blogger of the "Becoming Filipino" is a Canadian and has been living in Mindanao for years.

"The multitude of Canadian citizens of Filipino descent with roots from Mindanao could also help paint the real peace and order and security picture," he added. [Kate Trozo/MinDA]