By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, Nov. 3 (PNA) — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday said that the alleged “Laglag Bala” (bullet-planting) scheme will not affect the Philippines’ tourism sector in a major way but admitted that it can be a cause of concern.
DOT Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin, in an interview with reporters, pointed out this kind of scandal affect both the locals and foreigners’ desire to visit various parts of the country.
“It can affect (tourism) in the sense that there’s fear. Psychologically, they are worried of the possible impact of their travel not only to the Philippines but within the Philippines,” Jasmin said.
“It’s not only foreign tourists, but even our own fellowmen (are concerned). It’s a problem that we don’t need,” she added.
However, Jasmin said that there have not been any cancelled tourist bookings reported but only queries regarding the issue.
“Every single incident causes an impact and it’s important that we resolve this soon as possible,” the DOT official said.
The bullet-planting incidents, she said, were also not seen to affect the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit to be attended by about 20 heads of different states.
Meanwhile, she expressed confidence that concerned government agencies such as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP), among others will be able to resolve the problem immediately.
“We are confident will be able to arrest the situation in the airports not only in Manila but other airports as well,” Jasmin said.
“We really call on our fellow Filipinos to really be one in the spirit of hosting APEC. This is the best time to show Filipino warmth and hospitality and we hope indeed if there are groups or syndicates that are involved in this, they would put a stop to this,” she added.
Reports show that to date, there are about 30 cases of bullet-planting incidents reported.
About 40 personnel from the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) were fired from their posts since 2010. OTS is responsible for the security of the transportation systems of the country, including civil aviation.
Malacanang has already ordered the DOTC and OTS to investigate these bullet-planting incidents. The probe’s results are expected to be out within the week. (PNA)