Last week, Frederick M. Alegre, the Tourism Assistant Secretary at a recent phone interview explained that this year, the DoT will “maintain” its seven million visitor arrival target since the emergency situation in Mindanao, predominantly in Marawi City, where troops are up against the militants, “is a temporary situation.”
Mr. Alegre said, ‘the bulk naman of our arrivals is Visayas and Luzon.” He further added by saying that the department has showed high hopes that the time frame and regions covered by the martial law declaration would not be extended.
To quote him, ‘well, based on what we have seen from the President, he already said that number one: it will not extend to Visayas….So based on what we’re seeing now, …we’re confident that it will not be extended. We’re also confident that… peace and order and security is tight, it will encourage tourists to go to Mindanao.’
Mr. Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216 placing Mindanao under the scope of martial law following attacks on May 23 by pro-Islamic State (IS) Maute bandits at the Muslim mainly city of Marawi, provincial capital of Lanao del Sur. The fighting has dragged on for almost a month.
The President also declared that there is a possibility of him to announce martial law nationwide should Islamist extremists penetrate Luzon and Visayas, as he appealed to Congress to “give him more time” if anarchy in Mindanao continues.