The abduction of three foreign nationals and a Filipina at a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal Monday night deals a setback to Mindanao's tourism and investment upswing, according to Mindanao Development Authority chair Luwalhati Antonino.

The MinDA chair has also demanded for immediate and unconditional release of the kidnap victims, even as she calls on authorities for heightened efforts to rescue the victims safely and bring the perpetrators to justice.

While stressing that the incident is not reflective of the entire Mindanao situation, particularly in other major tourism and investment destinations, Antonino said that "perception wise, it does stir a fair amount of concern."

MinDA noted that Mindanao has seen a sustained uptick in both domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in recent years in spite of travel advisories arising from isolated incidents of bombings and armed clashes in parts of the island.

It added that the reinforced perception of Mindanao as an unsafe destination for tourists and investors should be matched with right context as the entire island pursues a vibrant economy.

"Mindanao, has time and again demonstrated resiliency and can always rise above challenges," Antonino stressed.
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