Tuesday, May 9, 2017

No threat in Palawan, AFP says amid US travel advisory

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 10): No threat in Palawan, AFP says amid US travel advisory
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it had not monitored any threats in Palawan after the US Embassy issued a travel advisory warning its citizens to avoid the island province because of the possibility of kidnappings.

“Wala tayong ganong information. We are not aware as to where the US Embassy obtained that information. Kung meron man, it did not come from the AFP,” military public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo told reporters.

The US Embassy is asking Americans to review their travel plans to Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City and the areas surrounding Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, because of “credible information that terrorist groups may be planning to conduct kidnapping operations targeting foreign nationals.”

While they have not monitored any threat, Arevalo said they were not taking the report lightly.

“We recognize and respect the responsibility to issue travel advisory sa travel citizens ganun din naman tayo,” he said.

“Whether there is a threat or not nagpapatuloy ang vigilance. We will monitor and look into it. Even in the absence of an advisory continious ang montioring at vigilance. Nagpapatuloy to ensure hindi tayo masisingitan,” he also said.

Despite the advisory, he said they were not deploying additional troops other than those deployed in the area at the moment.

The US embassy also issued a travel warning on reports of possible kidnappings in Central Visayas last April.

Responding to the warning, the AFP said that it had not monitored any indication that would support the travel advisory. It added that it did not see any threats in the Central Visayan region.

A day later, Abu Sayyaf bandits were spotted in Bohol, a tourist destination in Visayas. Ensuing firefights left a policeman and three soldiers dead.


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