Philippines to be safer for Chinese students

09:42, December 31, 2010      

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Due to the anticipated influx of Chinese students in 2011, civilian and police authorities of a southern Philippine city have agreed to the formation of a special police unit to provide the foreigners ample security while in the country, officials said Thursday.

An expected 5, 000 Chinese will be coming to Butuan city in Mindanao island's Caraga region by next year to study English and will need ample security, according to city councilor Ryan Anthony Culima.

Culima told local radio the city government recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Chinese Embassy regarding the educational exchange, and that the local government likewise pledged to provide security for the Chinese students.

According to Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Rafal, Caraga region police chief, a special tourist police unit would be mobilized to protect the Chinese students during their stay in Butuan and nearby areas.

"The tourist police will be formed as a specially-trained unit of the existing (Butuan) police station. The new police force would provide security not only to the Chinese students but also to all other tourists who will be visiting the region," Rafal told Xinhua by phone.

Rafal said they are now planning the number of personnel that will compose the tourist police units and that they would be mobilized by the end of January.

The resource-rich southern Philippines is home to some of the country's scenic wonders but attacks by kidnap and extortion gangs and stubborn leftist and Islamic insurgencies have affected domestic and foreign tourism arrivals in the region in the recent years, with tourists opting to safer destinations in the central and northern parts of the country.

The Philippines' tourism industry also suffered a black eye following the hostage-taking incident in the capital Manila by a disgruntled former policeman on August 23 that left eight Hong Kong tourists killed.

Source: Xinhua
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