DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Feb) – The local tourism industry won’t be affected by the statement of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that it is the country’s most dangerous city, an official said.
City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said in an interview Wednesday that the city’s tourism sector even survived the declaration of Martial law in Mindanao by hitting its 2-million target in tourist arrivals last year.
Trillanes said in a forum held in Chicago that Davao is the “most dangerous city in the Philippines” for being “number 1 in murder, number 2 in rape.”
“I would like to think marami ang hindi naniniwala sa kanya (many don’t believe him). During martial law, especially July last year, we had over 200 Filipino-Americans who did not want Davao cancelled from their itinerary,” she said.
Tecson was referring to the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour on July 14, 2017, at the SMX Convention Center Davao, which was graced by the President and other top officials of the government.
The awareness of visitors and tourists about peace and order in the city has been improved, she said.
She added they will strengthen their tourism promotion efforts in the country and abroad to stir interest for the city.
She said they hope to accommodate more meetings, incentives and other events that will bring in more visitors who will go on side trips to tourist destinations here and in neighboring areas.
On Tuesday, the city council declared Trillanes, which it said spread “fake news” about the city, persona non grata, along with Filipino-American businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Vice Mayor Bernard E. Al-ag said Trillanes’ statement “is offensive, malicious and pure lies. In short, this statement is not true.”
He lambasted the opposition senator for saying Dabawenyos had been “brainwashed” just like North Koreans and were made to believe that the city is the safest in the world.
In a viral video shared by Duterte supporters on social media, Trillanes said he based his claims on crime statistics of the Philippine National Police in 2015.
“Pero yung mga taga-Davao (but the people of Davao) were so brainwashed into believing that Davao City is the safest city not only in the Philippines but in the world. Parang silang mga North Koreans (they are just like North Koreans). That’s the thing here,” he said.
He said General Santos City is even better than Davao in terms of peace and order and urban planning.
Al-ag said the city would not have consistently won the seal of good local governance of the Department of Interior and Local Government if it did not pass the three assessment areas – peace and order, business friendliness, and competitiveness and environmental management. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)