THE Department of Tourism on Friday seemingly laid the blame for the kidnapping of two Europeans in Tawi-Tawi squarely on the victims' shoulders.
In a press statement issued late Friday, the DOT stressed that "the issuance of travel advisories is part of the regular functions of embassies in line with ensuring the safety and security of their citizens in a foreign country. For the Philippines, advice against travel to some parts of Mindanao has been constant and common."
The DOT then added: "The Tawi-Tawi incident is considered unfortunate and could have been avoided had the visitors taken necessary precautions many European tourists usually take in heed of these advisories."
Police have identified the kidnap victims as Elwold Horn, 52, of Holland; and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, of Switzerland. They were abducted on Wednesday by unidentified armed elements while riding a boat back to the capital of Bongao, after a bird-watching trip. Their guide, Ivan Sarenas, managed to escape by jumping into the sea.
The DOT expressed confidence that tourists would continue to flock to the country despite a new travel advisory issued by the United Kingdom. (Click InterAksyon for the rest. My piece was published on Feb. 3, 2012.)