OFFICIALS OF Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, have called for the lifting of the Mindanao-wide martial law declaration, citing its adverse impact on tourism as well as investments. “That (exception from Martial Law) would be very good because there are countries like Japan that hesitate to send tourists here,” City Tourism Operations Officer Regina Rosa B. Tecson said Monday. Ms. Tecson was echoing the call of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during the Davao Investment Conference 2019 last week. “We had the opportunity to talk to Japanese tourism associations and they said that one factor of the hindrance of coming over to Mindanao, even here in Davao, is martial law,” Ms. Tecson said. She added that travelers from countries that have issued travel alerts against Mindanao are also lost opportunities. The city tourism office reported about one million visitors as of end-May and is targeting three million for the year. Ms. Carpio said during the investment conference that she will formally make the request through a letter to the President, her father. The Davao mayor said there is a consensus among local officials in Mindanao that Martial Law has already stabilized peace and security in most of the southern island, and that it would be better to have the declaration localized in certain areas. The President first declared martial law in May 2017 following the siege in Marawi City by extremist groups. It has been extended twice with Congressional approval and is in effect until end-2019. — Carmelito Q. Francisco