Philippines travel advice

More anti-China protests possible in Metro Manila and Cebu City, Philippines through July 13. Heightened security, localized traffic disruptions likely.

The locations affected by this alert are Metro Manila, Cebu City This alert began 07 Jul 2015 06:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 13 Jul 2015 23:59 GMT.

– Event: Anti-China protests
– Location: Makati City, Metro Manila and Cebu City
– Impact: Heightened security, localized traffic disruptions Summary Additional anti-China protests are possible in the Philippines as a UN tribunal begins proceedings to determine whether it has jurisdiction to hear a legal case filed by Manila contesting Beijing’s claims to nearly all of the South China Sea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, will hear oral arguments on the jurisdiction issue July 7-13. Members of leftist group Bayan picketed the Chinese Embassy in Makati City, Metro Manila, July 7. Further protests by Bayan, as well as other activist groups are possible through July 13.

Besides the Chinese Embassy, demonstrations could also occur at the Chinese Consulate located in the World Center Building in Makati City. Smaller rallies are also possible near the Chinese Consulate in Cebu City. Rallies in Metro Manila have varied significantly in participation from a few hundred to several thousand. Police may increase security near Chinese diplomatic missions as a precaution. While violence is unlikely, low-level clashes could occur, especially if police attempt to forcibly disperse any demonstrators. Localized traffic disruptions are possible if additional protests take place.

Background and Analysis
The Philippines has referred its dispute with China over the territorial rights to several shoals in the South China Sea to a UN tribunal. China, however, has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings, and has said it will not recognize any ruling in Manila’s favor.

The July 7-13 hearings assume significance because the Philippines’ case against China would end abruptly if the PCA agrees it has no jurisdiction. A decision on the issue of jurisdiction is not expected for another six to 12 months.

Anti-China demonstrations occasionally take place in the Philippines, as negative sentiment continues to rise against Beijing for perceived aggressive actions in the South China Sea, particularly in the Paracel Islands. However, most of these events have remained peaceful.

Use caution if operating near Chinese diplomatic missions in the coming days, as protests could occur without warning. Allow additional time for travel along Buendia Avenue and on nearby streets in Makati City, as well as near the Chinese Consulate in Cebu City.