Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged the public to exercise caution while the country’s economy is gradually reopening domestic tourism, especially in areas vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Gatchalian made the call as he visits the province of Jolo, Sulu which has been hit by twin bombings about two months ago.
While in Jolo, Sulu today, the senator will meet with Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, his son Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan II, Jolo Mayor Kerkhar Tan, Congressman Samier Tan of the first district of Sulu, and the Commander of Joint Task Force Sulu Major General William Gonzales of the Philippine Army to discuss the potentials of the island of Jolo and the province of Sulu amid the ongoing threat of the CoViD-19 pandemic and recovery efforts after the bombing.
The senator is extending more than P2-million as his way of condoling with the families of the slain and injured civilians and uniformed personnel during that bombing incident. The families of nine uniformed personnel who died are each receiving P 50,000 while the families of the six slain civilians will get P 20,000 each.
“The national government should rise to the challenge of helping the province get back on its feet. Acts of terrorism create uncertainties and scare investors from doing business in the area and in the country,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“It is unfortunate that these atrocities are happening while we are slowly but surely opening up our economy amid the CoViD-19 pandemic. Jolo, Sulu and neighboring provinces should further enhance their security preparedness to support the government’s recovery efforts,” he added.
Gatchalian said a total of 24 identified injured uniformed personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army will each receive P30,000.00 as financial assistance.
He also will personally also hand over P10,000 each for the 54 injured civilians.
The Joint Task Force Sulu of the Philippine Army will also receive P 200,000 plus 10,000 pieces of face masks from the lawmaker.
Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs reiterated that economic development is the solution to lasting peace in the region. Jolo is known for its magnificent white sand beaches and is also rich in natural resources and an underwater ecosystem that will lure more Filipinos and foreign visitors alike into visiting the place.
“Tutulungan nating makabangon ang lugar at makahikayat ng mga mamumuhunan para umunlad ito at gumanda ang takbo ng kanilang ekonomiya (We will help the place rise again and encourage investors to come here to help these areas to thrive and have a better economy),” he said.
“Kaakibat nito ang kapayapaan at kaayusan, lalo na sa kritikal na sitwasyong bunga ng pandemya, (this comes with peace and order, especially in critical situations brought about by the pandemic),” he stressed.