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Crime Philippines Travel

Cult Scare Drives Tourists Away from Socorro

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A “cult scare” is driving tourists away from Socorro town in Surigao del Norte. Socorro municipal agriculturist Edelito Sangco, chair of the government’s Task Force Kapihan, said tourist arrivals in the town had nosedived since the cult-like activities of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) were exposed in the Senate.

Sangco says the “cult scare” might have been sparked by the description of the group, led by Jey Rence Quilario who is known as “Senior Aguila,” as armed and with the capacity to exact violence as revealed by various sources.

He is worried that if not addressed immediately, the scare may spread to Siargao, dubbed the country’s surfing capital, and a haven of digital nomads.

Based on data from the local tourism office, the town’s tourism peaked in 2017 with over 50,000 visitors.

After the pandemic and Supertyphoon Odette, the local tourism industry began to recover early this year, staying over the 5,000 mark until September.

By October this year, amid the national attention on SBSI’s activities with tales of child abuse, forced marriages, and other forms of oppression, tourist arrivals radically went down to just over 1,000.

Read the full article HERE.

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