By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Provincial Tourism Officer Cristine Mansinares recently reported recent attacks conducted by the New People’s Amy (NPA) have negatively impacted tourism in Negros, with the most recent incident occurring earlier this month when the rebel group ambushed police officers in Cauayan, which left two Swedish nationals wounded.
She noted, based on observations by tour operators, the event has resulted in embassies, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, issuing travel warnings to the southern part of the island.
The provincial official also pointed out, many foreign tourists in Sipalay City, which sees about 1,500 guests during its peak season, cut their vacations short.
She added, the ambush has also made tourists, who are in Bacolod City for the ongoing MassKara Festival, hesitant to travel outside of the city.
Earlier this week, following a briefing with Philippine Army 303rd Infantry Brigade (303 IB) deputy commander, Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member David Albert Lacson revealed the NPA in Negros has grown in numbers.
Based on data provided by Pasaporte, the NPA currently wields a strong influence in Escalante City, Toboso, and Calatrava in the north; and Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Ilog, Candoni, Kabankalan City, and Sipalay City in the south./WDJ