British in PH told to be vigilant against IS-related attacks
MANILA, Philippines — The British embassy in Manila has urged its citizens here to be vigilant after its government last week raised a global alert for British travelers who could be targeted by terrorists seeking revenge for the air strikes conducted by the United Kingdom against Islamic State (IS) militants.
The British embassy updated its travel advisory last Oct. 31 to reflect the latest warning issued by the British government.
“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria,” the embassy’s latest travel advisory said.
Last month, the British Parliament had supported moves by the UK to conduct air strikes against IS extremists in Iraq upon the request of the Iraqi government. IS had seized large parts of both Iraq and Syria.
The updated travel advisory came even as the embassy’s First Secretary Steph Lysaght last week told reporters that they had not made any changes in their travel advisory on terrorism and security in the last 12 months.
Lysaght met with reporters last Oct. 29 to brief them on how the embassy has been issuing its travel advisory in the Philippines.
The embassy said its advisories were “evidence-based.”
“If we receive credible intelligence that there is an imminent and specific threat against the UK or British citizens, we put them on the travel advice. We haven’t had need to do that in the last  months,” the British embassy official said.
Showing a sample of its latest advisory updated last Sept. 14, Lysaght explained that they have come out with a “color-coordinated” map to explain to British travelers the areas rated safe and dangerous for them.
He said areas that have been colored green signify “no special restrictions that we will advise against travel.”
“Amber means against travel that is all but essential in nature and red means against all travel to that area,” Lysaght said.
“The good news is… the vast majority of the Philippines is green. So we encourage people to come to the Philippines. We think it’s a great place…” he said.
Around 122,759 British nationals visited the country in 2013, based on the British travel advisory.
The embassy believes more of its citizens will include the Philippines in their travel destinations, according to Lysaght.
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