The provincial government of Misamis Oriental has issued suspension notice to trekking tourists in areas affected by the continuous combat operations of the military particularly in Claveria town and in Gingoog City.
Yvonne Waga, provincial tourism office head, said local and foreign tourists must refrain temporarily from visiting Mt. Sumagaya and Mt. Lumot in Claveria; and Mt. Balatukan in Gingoog City, where the government forces are still pursuing the insurgents belonging to the New People’s Army.
Waga said the provincial government is in close coordination with the local government units in said areas and its tourism heads to level up warnings in considered high-risk areas. She said tourists must wait until the lifting of the suspension notice. In tourist destinations located at the coastal areas, however, it is still safe for tourists to visit.
Though, tourists can visit tourist destinations such as in waterfalls in Salay town during daytime, but assurance of safety is low. Salay, Claveria and Gingoog City belong to the first congressional district of the province where the presence of rebel soldiers is evident. “So, it’s better to stay away from these areas momentarily. We’ll just pray that soonest possible time, these military combat operations recedes,” Waga said.
Waga admitted that gun battles between the government and the rebels greatly affected the tourism activities in Misamis Oriental especially the promotion and discoveries of its tourist destinations. Governor Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano was saddened of the unfortunate encounters in areas where a number of tourist destinations are located. But he is hopeful that it would end soon and peace negotiations resume. (via Provincial Information Office Misamis Oriental)