US asked to justify south Cebu travel warning
CEBU CITY – The United States government has been asked to substantiate its travel advisory that discouraged its nationals from going to south Cebu to avoid “confusion” among local and foreign visitors.
Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, said that based on his discussion with the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), south Cebu remains safe for travelers.
“I am in close coordination with the police authorities in the region. The police have assured me that they do not have any verified reports about the alleged threats,” Dino said in a statement.
The US Embassy in Manila issued an advisory on Thursday morning, warning Americans against traveling to southern Cebu particularly in the towns of Dalaguete and Santander and Sumilon Island in Oslob town citing terror threats.
“Terrorists groups are planning to conduct kidnapping in areas frequented by foreigners on the southern portion of Cebu Island, specifically the areas around Dalaguete, Santander, to include Sumilon Island” located off mainland Oslob town, the advisory said.
Dino said that the towns mentioned in the US travel advisory remained “generally peaceful, and that there had not been any incident of kidnapping or violence involving foreigners in those areas.
“The areas stated in the travel warning are secured and safe. The situation is normal and the tourists continue to enjoy the sights and the beautiful destinations undisturbed,” said Dino.
“I am in close coordination with the police authorities in the region. The police assured me that they do not have any verified reports about the alleged threats,” he added.
In a separate statement, the PRO-7 also assured that “Central Visayas is safe and secure to live, work and do business [in].”
More policemen had been deployed to areas frequented by foreigners, the statement said.
The police were also coordinating with the military and the Philippine Coastguard to intensify the security measures implemented in hotels, resorts, beaches and tourist destinations.
While there were no threats monitored in Central Visayas, the police urged Cebuanos to remain vigilant and immediately report to the nearest police station sightings of suspicious looking people in their locality.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III urged local officials to be vigilant in the wake of the travel advisory issued by the US.
“(I am) urging local chiefs executives to instruct their police chiefs to be vigilant, to be watchful, to conduct patrol just to check also situations in their respective areas,” he added. CDG
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