IT HAS only been a week since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao but the safety and security crisis, and the corresponding bad publicity, have already negatively affected the business community in Cagayan de Oro City.
The Limketkai Luxe Hotel, one of the biggest hotels in the city that hosts Manila-based clients, said it has already lost some P4.1 million in individual bookings and cancellations of events and functions.
Jerome dela Fuente, hotel manager said they have lost P2.6 million in individual bookings and P1.5 million in functions and events.
He said the whole month of June, which was supposedly fully-booked, was cleared.
"Our whole June is empty. All the big conferences are with us, so we are really going to be hit. What is worst in the coming months is the Asean ministerial meeting which is slated this July 2-July 20, the first of its kind in Cagayan de Oro. Roughly 150 rooms daily and now it's totally wiped out, it's not going to be held here," he said.
"We thought it's going to be rescheduled in October but Malacanang said it's gone," he added.
"It's going to get worse. It looks like it will not improve. There are more cancellations and Marawi is still in bad shape," he said.
Dela Fuente said he supports the declaration but that it should have been implemented only in Marawi City.
"Tatamaan kami (we are going to get hit). The tourism industry is the most hit. It is fine if 60 days lang, we will try hard to gain back what we lost in the last quarter maybe," he said.
"Cagayan de Oro is not only known as the City of Golden Friendship but also the city of conferences and conventions so sayang if this goes on," dela Fuente said.
Tito Mora, owner of a travel agency, said 105 passengers with inbound tours and ticket bookings have canceled so far.
Mora said he hopes the security situation improves even before the 60 days are up.
"Business, particularly tourism thrives on certainty and stability. While we recognize the powers of the president under the Constitution, we hope the security situation improves even before the 60 days duration," Mora said.
Roldan Kaamiño, one of the owners of Kagay Whitewater Rafting, said around 50 customers canceled their bookings, including some company events.
Rex Tapungot, owner of the Red Rafts Whitewater Rafting, likewise said two groups, one with 8 clients and the other with 11 , have canceled their bookings.
Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Robert Pizzaro had earlier said the declaration has an immediate setback especially to the tourism industry.
Pizzaro, in a text message, on Monday said estimates of the losses will be released by the Chamber this week.
But Regional director Elaine Unchuan of the Department of Tourism (DOT-10), for her part, said there are no major cancellations of events and bookings in the region so far.
"It's business as usual for us. Just following the precautions and security measures and we are ready as usual to assist tourists just in case there are any concerns," she said.