FORMER senator Richard Gordon on Thursday urged the government to safeguard the country’s tourist havens and destinations with regular patrols and a heightened presence of authorities.
“When you invite in the tourists, we should also make sure that they’re protected during their stay in the country,” Gordon, also a former tourism secretary, said in a statement in response to the recent kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina on Samal Island in Davao del Norte last Monday.
“I commiserate with the local government units and the tourism industry, this will undermine all our gains in promoting the Philippines as a tourism destination. Government should act with urgency to safely recover the victims, but this should be a concerted effort by the authorities and the public as well, there must be a command responsibility to address this crisis. It is through this that we can reassure the Canadian and Norwegian governments that we are doing all we can,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gordon said the Tourism department should create a continuity plan to mend the tarnished image the country had due to the incident, believing that this will restore loyalty and continued patronage both for foreign and local visitors.
He added that all tourism destinations must have a strictly implemented security plan to avert similar incidents in the future.
In 2009, Gordon authored in the Senate R.A. 9593, which aims to strengthen the country’s attraction as a premier tourism destination that would pave the way for other benefits resulting to a positive global view of the country.