By: Julliane Love De Jesus - Reporter / @JLDejesusINQINQUIRER.net
Extending martial law in Mindanao up to five years will be a big blow to the tourism industry, as well as the economy of the country, said some senators.
This was in response to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s plan to push for the extension of martial rule in Mindanao until 2022.
“There’s no basis for extending it for five years because we want to get this over as fast as we can and we want to have a sense of normalcy in Mindanao and the whole country,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in an ambush interview on Tuesday.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said a prolonged military rule in Mindanao would only shoo away potential investors.
“Martial law sends out a different connotation to other countries. Even though they say that marital law is different from the previous martial law, or martial law from the other countries, martial law is still martial law and serious investors will not come to Mindanao if they know martial law is being operated in that area,” he said.
“If you have a five-year martial law, potential investors will now hesitate and will think twice before going in Mindanao. Again, it sends the wrong signal to the business community,” he said.
Senator Nancy Binay also believes that the imposition of martial law for five more years will have a negative impact on the tourism industry.
Binay heads the Senate committee on tourism.
“Napakalaki ng kontribusyon ng turismo sa GNP (gross national product) natin. Talagang naapektuhan (ng martial law); maraming nagrereklamo ngayon,” Binay told reporters.
The senator she had heard stories of taxi drivers complaining about the decreasing number of tourists, thus affecting their business.
Binay said she plans to call for a hearing once the session resumes to tackle the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s alternative plans to address the problem while a martial law is in effect in Mindanao.
The senators will have a briefing with the security sector to discuss whether an extension of martial rule in Mindanao is needed to quell Maute terrorists in Marawi City.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II said the security briefing might be scheduled within the week or any time before the 60-day martial law period lapses.