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Department of Tourism guarantees safety of tourists in Bohol

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2017

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) held a closed-door meeting with the private sector in the tourism industry.

This is to address concerns on the security of tourists especially of foreign nationals who wish to spend their vacation in Bohol.

The issue came after the encounter between alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and government troops last week.

The DOT assures it is safe to travel to Bohol with the implementation of strict security measures in the province which is among the venues of the 2017 ASEAN meetings.

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said the number of tourists in the country remains high despite trip cancellations from Japan, China and Korea.

In fact, USec. Bengzon said, a high-profile Japanese TV Production crew is set to shoot videos of scenic views in Cebu.

“Just to assure you that there is a group in Cebu and again we see this as a strong sign of confidence in our destinations,” he said.

DOT is also coordinating the Japanese prime minister for the issuance of a travel advisory that it is safe to travel to the Philippines especially in Bohol.

“Like the Japanese ambassador, he told me, ‘Write me a letter. Tell me what you want and then I will send that letter to Japan for them to tell the residents, the Japanese tourists, to travel to the Philippines because it is safe’,” Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Wanda Teo Tulfo said.

There has been coordination with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to lift the travel advisories in the country.

“The travel advisories have been a problem of the country every time there is kidnapping somewhere in the Philippines. There have always been travel advisories saying it is not safe to travel in the Philippines. So he told me…as the Secretary General of UNWTO, can call the embassy concerned and tell them to lift the travel advisory,” Sec. Tulfo added.

The Department of Tourism is confident that the department will reach the targeted 8 million tourist arrivals this year. —Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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Abu Sayyaf releases another hostage in Sulu

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018


FREED AT LAST. Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza (left) and Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Cirilito (right) Sobejana speaks with kidnap victim Enrico Nee (center) who was released by his captors on May 21, 2018 in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu. (Photo courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines)


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Just two days after the recovery of two kidnapped police officers, another victim was released to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Monday, according to a statement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

After three months in captivity, Enrico Nee, a district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) based in Jolo, is reunited with his family.

Police reports said Nee was forcibly taken by armed men while waiting for his ride early morning on February 14 near his house in Barangay Kasalamatan, Jolo.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana said the victim was left by his captors in the town of Patikul and was found by residents at around 8 a.m. on Monday, May 21.

He added that civilians promptly reported Nee’s presence to the district engineer of DPWH District 1 who immediately dispatched vehicles to pick him up.

Secretary Dureza credits the victim’s release to the collective efforts of government security forces, the local government unit of Sulu, private volunteers, and the anti-kidnapping groups of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“Upon the instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte, we are doing our best to free all kidnap victims in the island province,” he said.

According to the AFP, a number of captives, including foreigners, are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Brigadier General Sobejana assured that relentless operations to free the victims are ongoing. — UNTV News & Rescue


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Pres. Duterte to take action once probe on P60-M ad deal is complete – Malacañang

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, May 4th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte.

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the President is now looking into the controversial P60-million advertisement contract placed in the program managed by the brothers of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in the state run-People’s Television (PTV 4).

However, the presidential spokesperson refused to divulge who particularly in the president’s office investigates the issue.

But Malacañang assured the probe includes all those involved and the president will take appropriate actions once the investigation is complete

“Many reports have reached the OP, and the president have taken action on these. Don’t be on a rush, let the investigations proceed to determine if reports are correct or not, the president has already a track record on this,” Presidential Spokesperson Roque said.

Previous reports said that aside from Tourism Secretary Teo, the probe also covers Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Andanar oversees PTV 4 as Palace communications chief.

“Of course it would be an investigation that would cover everyone. I leave the statement of SAP Bong Go for whatever it is worth, he was the one quoted as having said Secretary Andanar is part of that so I let it be,” Roque added.

Andanar, meanwhile, refused to give comments on this issue while investigations are ongoing.

For now, Malacañang said President Duterte has no directives for Cabinet members involved in the controversy to resign, particularly Secretary Teo.

“Every Cabinet member, unless they’re fired, enjoys the trust and confidence of the president,” the presidential spokesman said. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue


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DoT P60-M ad placement ‘highly irregular’ — Sen. Pangilinan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018


Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has urged the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the controversial P60-million ad placement of the Department of Tourism (DOT.)

“Yes, the P60 million DOT ad buy is on its face highly irregular and the Ombudsman should look into it,” Pangilinan said in a statement Tuesday, May 1.

The Commission on Audit (COA) on its website, published on Friday, April 27, an audit report on the government-run People’s Television Network Inc. (PTNI) where the COA said “there was no memorandum of agreement (MOA) or contract between PTNI and Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media Unlimited Incorporated (BMUI) to air DoT’s commercial ad in Tulfo’s show.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in defense of the transaction said it was aboveboard and that “the contract between the two entities went through the proper bidding process.”

“The explanation that the DoT dealt with PTV-4 is unacceptable,” Pangilinan concluded. – UNTV News & Rescue

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