Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has allayed fears over threats of kidnapping after President Rodrigo Duterte warned tourists against going to Zamboanga because of security concerns.
Climaco-Salazar was quick to dispel fears saying due to the combined efforts of the military and police “we have experienced zero bombing due to terrorism, zero kidnapping, and zero piracy.”
The mayor, who is seeking re-election, has urged travelers to continue to visit the different tourist spots in the city and the Zamboanga Peninsula region. Other mayors in the region are silent over Duterte’s negative portrayal of the Zamboanga Peninsula.
“Ang Zamboanga Peninsula area ay isa pong lugar na tayo dapat magtrabaho upang maiwasan natin ang acts of terrorism,” she said.
“Kami dito sa Region 9, particularly sa Zamboanga, ay nagtatrabaho kasama ang ating kapulisan, militar, coast guard, Army, Air Force, Marines upang magkaroon po tayo ng kapayapaan lalo na sa mga banta ng terorismo,” the mayor, who also chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council, said.
On Tuesday, Duterte had warned tourists not to visit Zamboanga because of security threats in the area.
“There’s a certain place which I would not recommend to anybody to go there, not just as yet, is Zamboanga,” Duterte told Filipino and foreign participants of the 7th Union Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Pasay City.
“Some Europeans go there for the bird watching and they are captured and eventually they are decapitated even after the payment of ransom,” he added.
He said the threat comes from the Islamic State-linked militants and the Abu Sayyaf group.
“It’s the ISIS actually. It used to be the Abu Sayyaf. Now it’s an Abu Sayyaf territory. They do nothing but to kill and destroy,” he said. (amm)