How safe are the vacationers this summer? The deadly attack of Abu Sayyaf members in Bohol’s tourist spot Panglao Island last week in time for Lent undoubtedly stirred tourists who were in the area at that time including those who are still planning to spend their vacation in the island. The reaction is very normal for normal people. Who would ever not be cowed by the incident where nine persons were dead during the deadly clash between the Abus and government troops. It’s very obvious the attack was staged to sabotage the country’s peace and order stability and to instill fear among the vacationers both locals and foreign. This is the time of the year where people look for tourist destinations particularly mountain resorts, pools, and beaches, to avoid the red-hot summer. Since, its vacation time, maybe, some will not mind about security matters, but mostly do, thus, would settle to forget about their summer getaways.
Following the Bohol deadly attack, was Monday’s twin blast in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat where dozens were injured including civilians, police and military enforcers. The military has confirmed prior the blast, text messages circulated about the plot of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to set off bombs in identified areas that included Tacurong. Authorities suspect the blast was staged in retaliation to death of ASG members in the Bohol clash. These developments are truly devastating to mess up the vacation season.
Government however assures the security situation is under control. This can be seen in the recent move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to beef up security in tourist spots this summer. The PNP has set up 21 tourist police units in all of the country’s key destination areas. It reactivated “Oplan SumVac” (summer vacation) since the start of the month. Under this scheme police visibility is stepped up in tourist destinations. Their presence is somewhat scary driving tourists away. But to avoid such negative reaction, policemen in coordination with the Department of Tourism underwent a seminar on how to handle visitors. This move of the PNP and DOT is valuable to ensure the safety of the vacationers reassuring them that authorities are there to protect them and ready to get rid of the vacation spoilers.