MISAMIS Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano on Wednesday, March 15, lifted the travel advisory for tourists and locals planning to trek in the mountain ranges of the province after safety assurances were given by the police and military.
“Since there is assurance from PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), we will lift the stoppage order issued,” Emano said.
On March 1, Emano issued the advisory discouraging tourists and mountain climbers from traversing the mountain ranges of Mt. Sumagaya and Mt Lumot in Claveria town and Mt. Balatukan in Gingoog City due to ongoing military operations.
The police and the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion (IB) said during the session of the Provincial Board that the province is safe, prompting the board to ask safe travel certifications from both security forces.
The Misamis Oriental Police Provincial Office issued on Tuesday, March 7, a safe travel certification signed by Provincial Director Manuel Sukarno Alvarez.
The police guaranteed that the entire province, from Lugait to Magsaysay towns including the cities of El Salvador and Gingoog, is safe for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.
“The peace and order situation in the province of Misamis Oriental is stable and manageable. Hence, intensive sustained operations on anti-illegal drugs, anti-criminality, internal security operations and the prevailing peace and order situation is still generally peaceful,” the notice said.
On Tuesday, March 14, the 58IB wrote a letter to the governor saying that peace and order in Misamis Oriental is relatively peaceful as of the moment and the burning of the mini tanker in Balingasag town last March 6, is meant to divert the focus of the military operation.
58IB Commander Francis Carandang, in his letter, said “the armed engagements between our troops and the NPA (New People’s Army) last February 27 to March 1 in vicinity Kaulayanan, Sugbongcogon and Bunal Salay towns were both very far away from the communities.”
“The intent of our focus military operations is to prevent the NPAs from launching terror and extortion activities in the communities. The purpose of our AFP-PNP joint security patrols and mobile checkpoints is to preempt the NPAs sabotage activities such as burning and arson,” the letter added.
Carandang said further in the letter that “as long as there is still NPA group, we can never say when will they conduct again their terroristic activities in the province. However, as your active partner for peace and development, the men and women of 58IB are always ready to serve and protect the people.”
Emano reminded tourists and local climbers and adventurers to visit and coordinate with local government units when trekking the mountains of Misamis Oriental.