Cebu VG Magpale troubled by UK travel ban: Wala namang problema sa NPA o terorista

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Vice Governor Agnes Magpale on Wednesday expressed concern over the inclusion of Southern Cebu on the British government’s latest travel advisory for its touring citizens in the Philippines.

Magpale, chair of the Provincial Tourism Commission, said she was saddened by the travel warning as this would affect the bilateral agreement she forged with some western countries during the recent international tourism forum she attended in Japan.

At the tourism forum in Japan, the vice governor said some western countries have signified their intention to have a direct flight to Cebu following the opening of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 2.

In its travel advisory issued August 13, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

The FCO also warned against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.

Magpale said she was troubled with the travel ban as there have been no reported sightings of the New People’s Army (NPA) or any terrorist groups in Southern Cebu, particularly in Dalaguete and Badian, which are popular tourist destinations.

“I just hope the Department of Foreign Affairs will do something and will communicate with the British government about this matter,” Vice Governor Magpale said.

The vice governor also hopes the travel advisory would not cause a big impact on tourism in Cebu as visitor arrivals in the province have increased since the MCIA Terminal 2 went operational on July 1.

The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) said there was no terrorism threat in Southern Cebu, contrary to the UK travel warning.

Provincial Investigation and Detection Management Branch chief Superintendent Janet Rafter said Southern Cebu has always been a safe place for visitors.

“The situation (in Southern Cebu) is normal. As of this moment, we have not received any incident report involving tourists,” Rafter said. (PNA)