Philippines travel advice

There is a threat from kidnapping, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnapping could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and on dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea. Foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas in the past. On 21 September a group of foreigners were reported kidnapped from a boat near a resort on Samal Island in Davao del Norte.

There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the country. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners like airports, shopping malls, public transport and places of worship.

There are several terrorist groups operating in the Philippines that continue to pose a threat. These groups include New People’s Army (NPA), the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and other associated groups. Although there is hope that the 2014 comprehensive peace agreement will bring the 40 year insurgency in the south of the country to an end, extreme elements within the two main insurgent groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), continue to pose a security threat. A splinter group of the MILF, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), has been responsible for a number of attacks on the Philippine military and security services.

Civilian targets in Mindanao have been attacked and there remains a threat of attacks throughout much of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Be aware of the risk of terrorist attacks to all forms of public transport: road, rail, sea and air. Terrorist groups have threatened to attack passenger ferries and other vessels, particularly those operating from Mindanao. You should avoid using public transport throughout Mindanao.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against western nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

 

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