POLICE officials assured that Southern Cebu is safe from any threat, despite the British Government’s recent travel advisory.
During a security coordination meeting with tourism stakeholders and local officials on Wednesday, Jan. 9, officials of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) assured Gov. Hilario Davide III that they had not received information concerning any potential threat to tourists going to Southern Cebu.
While he admitted they received information concerning the presence of armed men, CPPO Director Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena said they were still validating this information through their intelligence units.
“This may be the result of continuous anti-insurgency operations conducted by the AFP (Armed Force of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) units fully supported by the Provincial Government,” Abrugena said.
Abrugena said they found no signs of insurgency threats, adding that Cebu had been “insurgency-free” for a long time.
But Abrugena added that with Sinulog season already starting, extra precaution was needed to ensure the safety of foreign tourists, who were expected to flock in droves to Cebu to enjoy the festivities.
Not the first time
Separately, Davide said the last time the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory that included some parts of Cebu was two years ago.
Davide said that since Southern Cebu was known as a favorite destination for foreign tourists, all sectors must work together to ensure that criminal elements would not take advantage of the influx of tourists.
He also advised local and foreign tourists to not just depend on local law enforcement to secure themselves but to also be conscious of their personal safety.
“We just have to be conscious of our safety. We have to prepare always for any conflict or disasters,” Davide said.
After the New Year celebration, the British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an advisory to their nationals to avoid traveling to Western and Central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to terrorist activity and clashes between the military and local insurgent groups.
Aside from Mindanao, the FCO included Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands, and Southern Cebu, up to and including the towns of Dalaguete and Badian, citing suspected terrorism threats. (AZLG of SuperBalita Cebu, JKV)