THE Australian government has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to central and western Mindanao, citing very high threats of kidnapping, terrorist attack, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups.
In an advisory dated July 9 and posted on the Australian government’s Smart traveller website, Australians were reminded to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines due to the “high threat” of terrorist attack, including in Manila.
“Do not travel to central and western Mindanao due to the very high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups,” the advisory stated.
The Australian government cited the ongoing clashes between government forces and militants in Marawi City.
“If you are in Marawi City, exercise heightened vigilance and review your personal security plans,” it added.
“The level of this advice has not changed. Exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country,” the advisory stated.
“Possible targets for future attacks include commercial and public places frequented by foreign nationals such as transport hubs, hotels, shopping malls, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, markets, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Israel Embassy in the Philippines confirmed the travel warning issued by its counter-terrorism bureau to its citizens.
Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Effie Ben Matityau said the warning only concerns travel to Mindanao.
“This travel advisory is directed only to Israelis who are planning to go or stay in Mindanao. It has nothing to do with other parts of the Philippines,” said Matityau.