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Sunday, September 10, 2006

City Hall downplays new Aussie advisory

CAGAYAN de Oro officials and businessmen downplayed the possible economic effects of the Australian advisory on Mindanao, which included the city as one of the areas its citizens "should consider leaving."

The Australian advisory, published in one of its official websites (, was still active as of Sunday evening.

It told citizens not to travel to Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago, and advised a "high degree of caution" when travelling to the rest of the country.

"Recent credible reporting indicates terrorists may be in the advanced stages of planning to attack places frequented by foreigners such as restaurants, shopping malls including Mega Malls, hotels, hostels, guesthouses, bars or clubs in major population centres, including but not limited to Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, General Santos City, Cotobato and Pagadian. If you are in these areas you should consider leaving," portion of the advisory's summary states.
It also detailed previous terrorist attacks in the country, warning that "further attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines."

Despite this, local officials and the business sector remain upbeat, saying tourist influx continues its upward trend in the past weeks.

Ruben Vegafria, Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Indusrty Inc. (Oro Chamber) president, said the advisory will not have bearing on the local commerce.

"Our Australian tourists--and other nationalities for that matter--have confidence with our ability to protect them during their stay here," he said, describing similar travel advisories as "routinary procedures by other states to ensure the safety of its citizens."

"Tourists are still coming in, and as what I gathered from the business community, these type of advisories do not deter tourists from coming in," he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro. "It will not have any negative impact in our tourism industry and the local trade in general."

Mayor Vicente Emano, in an interview over the weekened, shared the same opinion, saying investors remain bullish on pouring investments to the city. Emano and his trade delegation is scheduled for a trade mission in Australia sometime this month.

The Australian travel warning coincided with last Friday's issuance of a "moderate" terrorism alert level in Metro Manila and "high" in major urban centers in Mindanao.

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The Man behind the Photos

The Man behind the Photos
Sun.Star Photographer Joey Nacalaban has been a journalist for 17 years. He provides photo content for this Blog.