Friday, July 5, 2013

US issues travel warning vs Sulu, Mindanao

From GMA News (Jul 6): US issues travel warning vs Sulu, Mindanao

Citing terrorist and insurgency activities there, the United States on Saturday (Philippine time) issued a travel warning on Sulu and Mindanao.

The State Department warned US citizens of the "risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Mindanao."

"US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there," the State Department said in an advisory.

It added that US citizens should continue to "exercise extreme caution" if traveling to Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

The State Department pointed out criminal groups have clashed sporadically with the Philippine Armed Forces, particularly in rural areas there.

Also, it said and terrorist groups have kidnapped international travelers and carried out bombings that have resulted in injuries and deaths.

While it said security and safety conditions in urban centers of Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro Cities are "generally more controlled," US Embassy employees must still get "special authorization" from Embassy security officials to travel to any location in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago, including these urban centers.

Terrorism, violence

The Department of State also said it remains concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests worldwide.

It encouraged all US citizens in the Philippines to enrol with the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

"By enrolling, you can receive the Embassy's most recent security and safety updates during your trip. Enrolling also ensures that we can reach you, or your designated emergency points of contact, during an emergency," it said.

The US Embassy is located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, and can be reached by telephone at 63-2-301-2000.

The American Citizens Services (ACS) section's fax number is 63-2-301-2017, and the ACS Section may be reached by email at

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