Solon decries generalization of Mindanao as unsafe for tourists
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur—A lawmaker has decried the characterization by a journalist of Mindanao as unsafe for tourists.
Kusug Tausug Rep. Shernee Tan-Tambut pointed to a June 2 tweet of Raissa Robles, a South China Morning Post correspondent, criticizing incoming tourism secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco’s plan to promote Mindanao aggressively as a tourist destination.
“Apparently, Frasco would like to open Mindanao to tourism. I’m sure the extremist Abu Sayyaf and other bandits would be pleased by the prospects of so many potential kidnap victims. Way to go, Frasco. Prep for ransom negotiations. ASG might ask you to nego personally,” Robles posted on Twitter, where she has close to 92,000 followers.
Tambut said the people of Sulu, where she came from, and those in other parts of Southern Mindanao, felt alluded to by Robles’ “sarcastic” post.
“I strongly protest the ugly picture you project of Mindanao, particularly its Muslim provinces, as the stronghold of kidnappers and bandits,” Tambut said in her open letter to Robles.
She said Robles was “careless” in suggesting that tourists in Mindanao were vulnerable to kidnappers and other criminals.
“That is totally untrue. Mindanao is peaceful and progressive, and its Muslim provinces are doing their best to contribute to our nation’s growth,” Tambut added.
“I do not hold it against you that you are strongly opposed to the incoming administration; we are free to side with whoever we believe in. But, as a responsible journalist, you are duty-bound to put fairness and facts before your biases,” Tambut further said.
The lawmaker counseled that Robles’ “overpowering dislike” for President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “should not give you a reason to pass unfounded judgment on policies that are yet to be implemented …”
Tambut offered to show Robles around southern Mindanao so she, Robles, could “experience the peacefulness of some southern Mindanao provinces.”