SOME may see it negatively, but for the tourism sector, the strong sense of governance imposed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is one of the driving forces that have beefed up tourism in the city.
"Yes, some may not like the idea of having an anti-smoking ordinance being implemented, but it is something that we should be proud of," Susan Palad, Mindanao representative to the Tourism Congress, said in Wednesday's Club 888 forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.
The anti-smoking ordinance has led to the regulation of smoking public areas like restaurants, malls, and churches. In enclosed areas, the ordinance has imposed the designation of a particular smoking area that will separate the smokers from the general public.
"Just look at how clean our city is, it shows that our government is working," Palad said.
Another aspect that the tourism sector pointed out is the low crime rate in the city, particularly robbery and pickpocket incidents.
"Where else can you walk around after midnight and feel safe using your mobile phones?" Palad asked.
Following the gruesome Maguindanao massacre and the slump in international travel, the region's tourism sector is working double time to boost the industry.
Palad said that travel agent Wanda Teo and businesswoman Gene Bangayan during the same media forum is striving to bring back good tourism in the region.
"This should be a concerted effort of all sectors, including the media, to show that Mindanao is not as bad as depicted by some," Palad said.
Geographically, the province of Maguindanao, wherein the massacre happened, is several hundreds of kilometers away from the urban centers and tourism destinations of Mindanao. The area is only accessible by road that would take several hours from Davao City.
The three have been elected into the Board of Trustees of the Tourism Congress. Aside from representing Davao City, they are also representing the whole of Mindanao as they occupy three of the nine seats on the board.
"We have to improve the publicity of Mindanao, and we have to work on it together," Teo said.