US Embassy issues warning for Americans in SouthBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The United States Embassy in Manila on Friday advised American citizens in southern Mindanao to be extra careful, saying there was “credible threat against foreigners” staying there.
“The US Embassy wishes to alert US citizens that a credible threat against foreigners has been identified in southern Mindanao. Individuals associated with known extremist groups are believed to have been conducting surveillance on public shopping malls and Western-based cafés in the area, as possible targets of interest,” the embassy said in its “Emergency Message to US Citizens” posted online.
The embassy said extremists “may elect to use conventional or nonconventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.”
It said targets included high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other destinations frequented by foreigners.
“The embassy advises all US citizens residing in the southern Mindanao area to exercise extreme caution and reevaluate their personal safety situation. The embassy strongly reiterates its recommendation that US citizens exercise extreme caution when traveling to Mindanao and to keep personal safety and security in mind during any stay in Mindanao,” the message said.
The message did not specifically identify the provinces where “credible threat against foreigners” existed. Geographically speaking, southern Mindanao refers to the Davao Region.
US citizens were also advised to peruse the security conditions in Mindanao as stated in the July 4, 2013, travel warning for the Philippines posted by the embassy online.
“The embassy wishes to remind all US citizens to remain vigilant and maintain an appropriate level of personal security in all circumstances by reviewing your personal safety plans; remaining aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitoring local news sources for updates,” the message said.