UK, Australia issue travel advisory vs. PH
By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Australia and the United Kingdom have issued advisories to its citizens discouraging travel to the Philippines, especially in Mindanao, in the wake of reports of likely “imminent attacks” by supposed terrorists.
In its advisory issued in their Foreign Affairs website, Australia warned residents to “exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of serious crime.”
Australia, quoting “credible reports” said: “Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines, including in Manila.”
“We continue to receive credible reports indicating terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets in a variety of locations, including places frequented by foreigners,” it added.
In a separate travel advisory, the United Kingdom- Foreign and Commonwealth Office said there is a “high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines.”
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers. Such places could include, but are not limited to, airports, shopping malls, places of worship etc,” it noted in its advisory.
Both countries strongly advised its citizens not to travel to Mindanao, some 800 kilometers away south of Manila, the Philippine capital.
The advisories specifically warned against any travel to Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu Archipelago, where supposed allies of international terror group Al Qaeda are present. Australia noted of armed clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Malacanang, however, allayed fears of such attacks, saying there was no specific information on the supposed terror attacks.
“We’re not aware of any specific information on that advisory,” Communications Group Secretary Ricky Carandang told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in a phone interview.
Earlier, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III himself said Philippine forces have already heightened its security but there are still no reports of threats from foreign terror groups.
“Walang nirereport sa atin so far na threats from foreign sources at this point,” Aquino said in an ambush interview upon his arrival from Vietnam.
“We [might also] come up with programs to involve the citizenry further in helping us monitor the entire country at all times,” he added.
Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia