France, New Zealand issue travel advisories on parts of PH
France and New Zealand on Wednesday have joined the growing list of countries that have issued a warning to their citizens who are traveling to the Philippines.
The travel advisories of France and New Zealand were issued after the clash of government military and police forces against bandit Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol, a popular tourist destination in Visayas last Tuesday.
Prior to the clash, the United States Embassy in Manila advised US citizens that it had received unsubstantiated yet credible information that terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings in Central Visayas, which includes both Cebu and Bohol provinces.
The embassies of Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom have followed in issuing advisories after the clash, urging their citizens to be vigilant if they were to visit Philippines due to reported terrorist threats in Central Visayas.
The French Embassy in Manila cited “credible reports of threats of kidnapping by terrorist groups in the Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu and Bohol,” in its travel advisory.
“The Philippine police are also taking the threat seriously and have already taken steps to protect tourists and foreigners,” it said in a travel alert updated Wednesday.
“Even if this threat remains unclear in the concerned areas, increased vigilance remains crucial,” it added.
The New Zealand government, on the other hand, told its citizens of an “extreme risk” to their security in Central and Western Mindanao, including the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.
Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were also included in the flagged areas.
“We advise against all travel to these areas. The very high threat of terrorist activity, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups makes travel to these areas extremely dangerous,” it added. JE
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