Presence of foreign visitors shows ‘all is well in Mindanao’
By Lilian C. Mellejor

DAVAO CITY, Oct. 23 (PNA) — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday criticized foreign travel advisories issued against traveling to Mindanao, Davao City in particular, for lack of sufficient basis as he urged participants of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA–IMT GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders Conference to draw their conclusions on the real situation of the city.

Duterte exulted the holding of the business conference in the city, saying the presence of foreign and local visitors sends a strong message internationally and nationally that “all is well in Mindanao,” Duterte said.

“This conference and trade fair proved that issuance of travel advisories lack sufficient basis,” Duterte pointed out, voicing his displeasure on censuring Mindanao from foreign sources in relation to peace and order.

Duterte delivered a short but strongly-worded welcome speech before some more or less 1,000 foreign and local delegates during the opening of the four-day 2nd Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) conference held at SMX Convention Center Davao Thursday morning.

The BIMP-EAGA–IMT GT is a subregional cooperation initiative mainly to promote socioeconomic development in selected subnational focal areas in ASEAN.

It also promotes and facilitates intra-and inter-regional trade and investment, especially in the agriculture and agro-industrial sectors, and tourism through increased cross-border business linkages, improved physical and institutional connectivity, sustainable environmental management, and strong institutional linkages.

The mayor urged participants to visit Davao City and draw conclusions only after they have experience what Davao is.

“There is law, there is order,” he said. The line drew applause from the participants. He went on by inviting them to savor the hospitality of the city.

“Move around. Do not confine yourselves in the barracks. There is time to work…time to play…time for sightseeing…time to say hi…time to say goodbye…time for everything,” he added.

Duterte said the business conference and trade fair is also a good “time to make friends, renew acquaintance and enjoy each other’s company”. (PNA)

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