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Yanks told: Don’t you go to far Zamboanga

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The United States Embassy on Wednesday warned US citizens against traveling to the Zamboanga Peninsula, saying it had moved its personnel already in the area to a secure location amid a “credible” kidnap-for-ransom threat against foreigners.

The emergency message was posted on the embassy website Wednesday, the same day that US Ambassador Harry Thomas was in Zamboanga City to launch three major five-year programs of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The embassy advises all American citizens residing in or planning to travel to the Zamboanga area to reevaluate their personal safety situation and consider postponing travel to this area at this time,” it said.

But there was no mention of any threat during the US envoy’s visit here on Wednesday.

Mayor Celso Lobregat, who had breakfast with Thomas, said the ambassador did not say anything about the US Embassy warning.

“Nothing was mentioned about the advisory,” Lobregat said.

Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, city police chief, was also surprised by the advisory.

“Their ambassador was just here,” De Ocampo said.

Thomas, however, canceled his scheduled trips to the military’s Western Mindanao Command headquarters here and to Jolo, Sulu.

The ambassador, who alternated between limping and sitting on a wheelchair, said he suffered a “slip while dancing.” He left for Manila at noon.

In Zamboanga City, he visited the Ateneo de Zamboanga and the Garden Orchid Hotel.

The embassy advisory did not identify the group behind the kidnap-for-ransom threat.

It said all US government personnel already in Zamboanga have moved to a secure area while those planning to travel have been directed to defer their trips.

The embassy said the warning will expire on June 12.

The US state department has a standing warning on travel to Mindanao, advising US citizens to “exercise extreme caution” if planning to visit southern Philippines due to crime and terrorism.

Thomas was in Zamboanga City to launch three separate USAID projects promoting good governance and accountability, improved health services and youth development.

The projects had been designed based on “many years of experience in Mindanao, taking into account the best practices and lessons learned,” Thomas said.

“It was guided by the findings of the assessment conducted by the US Embassy with Mindanao Working Group. They traveled to a number of places and held discussions,” he said.

Thomas said the projects, whose cost was not stated, were an affirmation “of our commitment to peace and unity in Mindanao.”

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Tags: Diplomacy , Global Nation , Harry Thomas , Philippines , Travel advisory , US , Zamboanga Peninsula

  • TulisangDagat

    this is just a message warning ..if the Yanks were hurt the wound will heal slowly…..

    • kanoy

      Kidnapping Threat in Zamboanga, Mindanao

      The U.S.
      Embassy wishes to alert U.S. citizens that a credible threat of a
      terrorist kidnapping-for-ransom (KFR) plot against foreigners has been
      identified in the Zamboanga area on the island of Mindanao. As a
      result, the Embassy advises all American citizens residing in or
      planning to travel to the Zamboanga area to re-evaluate their personal
      safety situation and consider postponing travel to this area at this
      Any U.S. government personnel already in Zamboanga have been directed to relocateto a secure area. U.S. government employees planning to travel to
      Zamboanga have been directed to defer their travel at this time.

  • guest1500

    I am just curious of how many Americans go to Zamboanga before the advisory. Perhaps only Filipino American.

    • kanoy




    • foreignerph

      Me ;-)

      I’m not American but European. Taluksangay Mosque is great and I walked over the catwalks of the Badjau houses surrounding it to get the best viewpoint for pictures. The city is very colorful and diverse. I just walked into a Madrassa and I’ve got a very instructional lecture from a friendly aspiring imam about the background of Islam in Mindanao. Some pupils, girls in beautiful scarfs and dresses, wanted to add me on their FB and wanted to practice their English on me. The museum in the Fort is very well organized and has great displays of the Badjau culture and artifacts. I could even practice my (poor) Spanish well.

      KFR? No idea and they won’t get any money from me since ako ay mahirap ;-)

      The Gates of Hell are much more dangerous. In NAIA you can even get crushed under a concrete slab falling down on your head, without the adrenalin rush.

  • wawa2172

    Yes, only arab looking citizens are not banned from roaming around Zamboanga. They are simply the military adviser of KFR bandits in the area. KFR is a lucrative backyard industry of Abus in Mindanao and they cannot be hounded by Henares to pay taxes. Its been a decade of business for the Abus and the government is inutile in stopping them kasi most of them are also members of MILF and MNLF armed groups.

    • nick

      tapos nagagalit ka ke vice ganda? haha, mas masahol ka pa sa kanya. sana nananalamin muna teh!

  • nakatutok

    madaming KUMIKITA sa kidnapping..kasama ang PULIS at MILITAR…pati na POLITIKO….its a thriving cottage industry down there…

  • AlexanderAmproz

    How come its happening in the best and wealthy Jalosjos Paradise,
    A traditional rapist culture identity ?
    Why not to study the rape mentality impact on the constituents and catch the snake head ?

    The most important by a Republic are untainted Politicians and Judges.
    Do Zambonga is to remote to be impregnated by this spirit ?

    Yes, the Philippines in a whole are or there is a slip on the tongue about words significations, honesty mean dishonesty.
    Who will care adding two letters among an illiterate’s Power tradition for slavery ?

    So easy to inherit bad habits, it must be in the blood.

    The Philippines isn’t advisable to anybody,
    The ten millions OFWs Filipino’s first to have understood it and changing nationality at the first opportunity for hope. It’s so sad for such a wonderful country.
    Only the 40 families owning 74% of the wealth don’t want to understand it,
    Ruling without to care anything, own deadly and destructive selfishness excepted !
    In case a stupid honest clime for Justice, he is killed or jailed,
    he will be tag as terrorist to the system.
    Chain saws are more expressive and an easier for understanding than any useless fake school’s text books.

    Good books will damage the cherished traditional cultural moral values,
    books are bad for slaves. The Spanish – Clergy – US understood it already long time ago, they don’t need any lesson about it, raping is delicious for them.

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