Canadian government warns against travel in southern Philippines

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Canadian government travel advisory

The Canadian Government has urged against travel to parts of the southern Philippines due to a serious threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

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Canadians have been urged to avoid all travel to Western and Central Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea, including the waters south of Palawan. 

The advice, issued today (Wednesday, May 8), says this is “due to the serious threat of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, high levels of criminality, and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups”.

It also highlights the risk of piracy in the waters south of Palawan island.

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The Canadian government issues “avoid all travel” advisories only when it determines that there is an, “extreme risk to your personal safety and security”. As a result, it says: “You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.”

The “avoid all travel” advisory covers the following provinces:

  • Basilan
  • Cotabato
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Maguindanao
  • Misamis Occidental
  • North Cotabato
  • Sarangani
  • South Cotabato
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay

Furthermore, the government is advising that Canadians should avoid all “non-essential travel” to Eastern Mindanao, for the same reasons given above.

However, the advisory does note that conditions in Eastern Mindanao are more stable than in Western Mindanao. “Non essential travel” means that there, “are specific safety and security concerns that could put you at risk”. As a result, tourists should determine whether they need to be in the country. If not, they should consider leaving while it is still safe to do so.

The “avoid non-essential travel” advisory covers the following provinces: 

  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Bukidnon
  • Camiguin
  • Compostela Valley
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao Oriental
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur

The advice is very much in line with travel advisories issued by other countries, such as the UK.

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