Australia advises citizens to avoid travelling to parts of MindanaoBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — The Australian government warned its citizens on Tuesday against travel to parts of Mindanao citing “a very high threat” of terrorism and violent crime.
In a July 1 update of its travel advisory on the Philippines, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also bared that all scheduled trips of Australian Embassy staff to key Mindanao cities have been cancelled.
“We continue to strongly advise you not to travel to central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu Archipelago, due to the very high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups,” said the DFAT advisory posted on its website.
DFAT said the scheduled travel of its Philippine staff to Davao City, Cotabato City and Zamboanga City “have been cancelled until further notice.”
“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks,” read Australia’s advisory.
DFAT also urged Australian citizens to “reconsider” travel to eastern Mindanao, including 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.
The Australian government cited “very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack” in these provinces.
The latest advisory from the Australian embassy was an update to its travel warning in late May, when DFAT, along with the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States warned their citizens of travel to the Zamboanga Peninsula due to a kidnapping threat on foreign nationals.