MANILA -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday welcomed the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte this week that Marawi City is liberated from terrorists after more than four months of battle against the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

“Our government has proven that it can contain and eliminate any threat to peace and order, and ensure that the country remain a safe place to live and visit,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a press statement.

Teo also lauded government troops who “made the ultimate sacrifice” for the liberation of Marawi.

She also expressed support for the Duterte administration’s recovery and rehabilitation program to restore Marawi City’s economy, business and livelihood; its educational institutions; hospitals and medical clinics; and other public services.

DOT Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Frederick Alegre earlier said the agency recognizes the potential of Marawi as a tourist destination.

Senator Richard Gordon, former Tourism Secretary, has proposed to convert Marawi City and other municipalities around Lake Lanao into a tourism hub to help it rise from the ashes of war.

“A strong tourism industry will not only help in Marawi’s rehabilitation, it will also bring economic development not only to Marawi but also to the whole of Mindanao,” Gordon said.

Gordon said a ferry service around Lake Lanao in Marawi City could be operated to slowly create a culture of tourism among the people.

Malacanang has expressed support for Gordon’s proposal. (PNA)