MANILA — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has urged the diplomatic community to exercise caution in the issuance of warnings to all its citizens against traveling to the Philippines amid fighting in Marawi City and the Resorts World Manila incident.
“We really have to be calm, we have to be safe but we have to see (first) the facts,” he said.
Cayetano bared he told diplomats the importance of accurate travel advisories to the image of the Philippines and to its tourism industry.
He said embassies should accurately cite data from concerned government agencies, rather than sources.
The DFA chief said that the country was huge, thus problems in some areas such as Sulu and Marawi City did not constitute problems of the entire Philippines.
Cayetano said he received “very good response” from several countries to his call for caution in issuance of travel advisories.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 following clashes between security forces and Maute Group members in Marawi City. The declaration for the island would last for 60 days.
Some embassies also issued travel alert against the Philippines after Friday’s Resorts World incident that killed 38 people, including the gunman, due to smoke suffocation.
Police identified the gunman as Jessie Carlos, a gambler and had millions of pesos in debt, as they reiterated that the incident was not an act of terrorism.