Although the French, Japanese and Canadian governments have not totally lifted the whole of Mindanao in the list of areas to avoid by its citizens, they have already excluded the tourism and financial hubs of the island, according to a report filed by Sunstar Daily.

This means that cities like General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Davao are now excluded in their travel advisiories.

For instance, France in its latest advisory urges its nationals to avoid the “western half” of Mindanao, including Zamboanga Peninsula up to the Sulu Archipelago, then down to the provinces of Lanao, Misamis, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindano, even Sarangani, with the exception of General Santos City.

According to Sunstar, “The travel advisory has been primarily premised on the areas of activity of the armed terror group, Abu Sayyaf.”

The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, for its part advises “against all travel the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which includes Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Sharif Kabunsuan, as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga del Sur, Saragani, Lanao del Norte, Davao del Sur (excluding urban areas of Davao City), South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat“.

These welcome developments would hopefully encourage more investments to come into these cities which in turn,  could also help the rest of the countryside in the long run.  We have to give credit to the improving peace and order climate in these urban centers and in their burgeoning trade and commerce.

And of course, we in GenSan News Online Mag have always believed that the more favorable news from these areas, courtesy of their vibrant blogging communities (Soccsksargen Bloggers, Davao Bloggers, CDO Bloggers) have also been instrumental in changing how foreign governments’ perceive them.