Hagedorn warns Palawan folk of new bomb threatsBy Redempto Anda
Inquirer Southern Luzon
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The city government on Friday warned local residents of possible new bombings similar to a series of incidents in early April that threatened the city’s booming tourism sector.
Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn told a gathering of local leaders, who convened for a peace rally attended by Moro National Liberation Front chair Nur Misuari, that they were investigating new threats of bombings.
A series of text messages sent to his private number warned of new explosions early next week, said Hagedorn.
“We are taking these threats seriously. We don’t want a repeat of the scare bombs last month that could harm our growing tourism sector,” Hagedorn told the Inquirer.
He appealed to local leaders, who assembled in a convention hall for the peace rally, to encourage their sectors to cooperate with the police who were trying to identify the source of the threats.
Two explosions near the Underground River and in El Nido in northern Palawan on April 5 rocked the province, prompting the city government at that time to consider a temporary closure of the city’s main tourist draws.
Leaders of various sectoral groups, including Catholic Bishop Pedro Arigo, denounced the reported threat.
Misuari, who led the delegation of Moro leaders, asked his followers to cooperate with the authorities.
Hagedorn said the city police have stepped up security in public places including areas that are frequented by tourists.
He admitted that the bomb explosions last month led them to consider closing some tourism sites.
Puerto Princesa has been experiencing an unprecedented rapid growth in tourism since the declaration in February of the Underground River as one of the seven new wonders.
The city’s tourism sector hit a record growth of 54 percent this quarter, pacing erstwhile leaders Boracay and Camarines Sur, according to Hagedorn.