MANILA, Aug. 9 -- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has expressed optimism that the ongoing conflict in Marawi City in southern Philippines will end soon.

In a briefing at the sidelines of the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017, Dominguez said the conflict has affected tourism in Mindanao but allayed fears that business getting back to normal won't be possible soon.

“We know that in the Mindanao area, people are worried about that so I guess the business people are looking for a quicker solution. And I believe it is coming soon,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 to help government troopers contain members of the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City as soldiers target to arrest a leader of another terror group, Isnilon Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

In the same briefing, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Davao head Capt. Ronald Go said hotel occupancy in the city fell by around 30 to 40 percent as a result of the declaration of Martial Law.

He, however, said that Davao City’s tourism industry is regaining its footing ahead of the Kadayawan Festival (Bountiful Harvest) from August 15-21, 2017.

He said the city’s tourism office has raised the need for additional rooms of about 3,000 to ensure proper accommodations for tourists.

“It’s very encouraging. Initially there were some problems but I think we’re bouncing back,” he said.

Go said that “once people realize that martial law in Davao and other parts of Mindanao is not like what we experienced before, say in 1972, it’s a totally different thing.”

He also expressed hoped that the public would know through social media that peace and security in Mindanao remains okay so that “more people can come back again initially as tourism and eventually to invest for trade and commerce.” (PNA)