DILG chief on UK advisory: ‘Not right to generalize threat in Mindanao’
MANILA, Philippines — It is not right to generalize the existence of threat in the whole of Mindanao, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Wednesday, after the United Kingdom warned its citizens against travelling to the southern region.
Año said the government admits the presence of terror groups and communist rebels in the region but said “they are isolated in certain areas of Mindanao only.”
“It is not right to generalize the existence of threat in the whole of Mindanao,” he said in a text message to reporters.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier issued an advisory against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago “because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.”
The UK has also advised its citizens against “all but essential travel” to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat, and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian.
The travel advisory was issued by the UK after the bombing in Cotabato City, which killed two and injured 34 others.
According to Año, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and local government units under the martial law in Mindanao are exerting their best effort to ensure the protection of all tourists.
“We will intensify military and police operations in those concerned or affected areas of Mindanao. We assure the safety of tourists and travellers in Mindanao,” he said.
The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, said that the advisory is only part of the standard operating procedure in the international community.
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