THE Australian and British governments warned their citizens about traveling to Mindanao, particularly to Zamboanga, because of the “high threat of terrorism and serious crimes.”
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its advisory on August 24 (London time) while the Australian government reissued the warning on Saturday.
“The FCO is aware of a credible and imminent kidnap threat against foreigners in Zamboanga del Norte province in Mindanao. The FCO advise against all but essential travel,” the advisory from the British government said.
On the other hand, the Australian government advised its citizens against travel to eastern Mindanao, which includes the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur “due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attacks.”
It also warned Australians against going to western and central Mindanao, particularly Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga del Norte, and Sulu Archipelago because of clashes between armed groups.
“We continue to see reports indicating that militants based in the southern Philippines are planning to kidnap Westerners. If you are in central or western Mindanao, you are strongly advised to leave immediately,” the advisory said.
The government said they also receive reports of planned attacks at places frequented by foreigners.
“Terrorist attacks could occur anytime, anywhere in the Philippines, including Manila. You should avoid places known to be terrorist targets,” the advisory added.