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Mindanao siege puts Philippine tourism industry on defensive

As spooked travelers cancel trips, agents call for specifying safe zones

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Cebu Air is feeling the effects of the fighting in Mindanao.   © Reuters

MANILA -- The ongoing siege in the Philippines' conflict-torn south is scaring foreign tourists away from the country altogether, with travel agencies and airlines reporting cancellations.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the southern islands of Mindanao under martial law on May 23, after the Maute group, a local terrorist organization aligned with the Islamic State group, attempted to take over the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced as the fighting continued for the 10th day on Thursday.

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