Australia and the UK have both firmed up their Philippine travel advisories due to the “threat of terrorism”.
In its travel advisory issued today (Friday, November 3) Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade warned citizens to exercise heightened caution citing a “high threat of terrorist attack in the Philippines, including Manila”.
The post specifically warned against travel to Eastern Mindanao “due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping”.
“Be alert to possible threats around locations that have a low level of protective security. And places known to be possible terrorist targets. The level of our advice has not changed,” it said.
“Exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.”
Philippine travel advisories cite terror threat
Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office today reiterated a warning issued last month that urged caution when travelling to the Philippines, particularly in rural areas.
“Armed clashes between security forces and militant groups can occur at any time without warning,” it said. “Before traveling to rural areas, you should research the area thoroughly.”
It particularly advised against going to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago “because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups”.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines, including in Manila,” the advice continued.
“Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country, including in places visited by foreigners, like airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities.”
The updated Philippine travel advisories come shortly after the end of fighting in Marawi City. Chaos erupted in the country’s largest Muslim-majority city since Islamic State-linked terrorists went on the rampage on May 23.
Despite this victory, President Duterte has warned it was “not far-fetched” that terrorists would seek “retaliation and vengeance”.
“Terrorism will always be there,” he cautioned, raising the spectre of so-called lone wolf attacks across the nation.