This, even as Director Ronaldo Tiotuico of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Luzon reported that arrival of foreign tourists at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at the Clark freeport, including those from Hong Kong, seemed unaffected by the hostage incident.
He noted “figures on passenger volume (at the DMIA) remain high from (Asian) countries at 2,283 arrivals as compared to only 1,067 in the same month last year.
This figure represents arrivals from Aug 24 or a day following the hostage-taking incident in Manila up to Aug. 27.”
Tiotuico said Central Luzon leaders sent their letters of sympathies and apologies to the families of the Chinese hostage victims through his office based here.
Tiotuico also said the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga led by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto also directed all churches in his archdiocese to offer this coming Sunday’s Masses for the repose of all the victims in the hostage tragedy, including hostage taker Rolando Mendoza.
“The letters of sympathies coursed through my office all expressed in common their sender’s of sympathy for the families of the victims of the tragedy and that they and their constituents are one in extending their apology for the chain of events that ended in a tragedy,” Tiotuico said.
He said that apart from Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap and Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado , Tarlac City Mayor Gelacio Manalang also sent a sympathy-apology letter.
Tiotuico said that last Friday, Yap, Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap, and provincial board member Danilo Asiaten led officials and employees of the provincial government and leaders from the tourism sector in the lighting of candles for the hostage victims in front of the provincial capitol in Tarlac City.
“The officers and members of Pampanga Agents Travel Society (PATS) in Angeles City also expressed their deep sorrow and sympathy to the families of the bereaved Hong Kong nationals during their meeting with officials of China Tee Tours in Angeles City,” he said.
Chinese officials of China Tee Tours vouched for the safety of Filipinos visiting Hong Kong and mainland China, amid reports that the hostage tragedy triggered adverse attitudes towards Filipinos in Hong Kong.
Tiotuico said that despite the negative repercussions of the hostage incident, the DMIA at Clark freeport “continues to draw loads of air passengers from South Korea, Singapore, Macau, Taipei, Bangkok, Malaysia and even Hong Kong.”
Noting that “DMIA chalks up an average of 25,000 air passengers per month”, Tiotuico attributed the “unhampered success of Clark airport in drawing hordes of tourists and overseas Filipino workers to massive marketing caravan of Clark International Airport Corp.”
“The caravan, led by CIAC president Victor Jose Luciano, blitzkrieged through ASEAN countries including Hong Kong,” he noted.