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Philippines Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. State Department

May 03, 2001

A series of security-related incidents has made travel unsafe in certain areas of the Philippines. Violence during recent political demonstrations, kidnappings of foreigners, and bombing incidents call for Americans to exercise extreme caution.

Violent political demonstrations on May 1 in the Malacanang area of Manila reportedly left two police officers and several protesters dead. Although the violence has been brought under control, the possibility exists for further such demonstrations.

In late December 2000, a series of bombs exploded in the Metro Manila area, including the cargo terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), on December 30, 2000, killing 18 people and injuring 100.

Since April 2000, the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group (ASG) has taken hostage a number of Filipinos and foreign tourists. Some of these hostages were killed by their captors. In August, the same group took credit for kidnapping a U.S. citizen. There is concern that the ASG may take additional actions against U.S. citizens and other foreigners.

There have also been sporadic incidents of violence in southern Mindanao, including bombings in General Santos City and at the Cotabato Airport in Maguindanao Province, as well as bus hijackings on national highways. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front reportedly has claimed responsibility for these actions.

U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to avoid all travel to the southern and western areas of the Island of Mindanao, to include Zamboanga City, due to incidents of terrorism and violence. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to the island of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Jolo located in the Sulu archipelago in the extreme southwest of the Philippines. For additional information on this area, please refer to the Department of State’s Public Announcement on Malaysia dated April 9, 2001.

In view of these incidents, and the possibility of future attacks, Americans are urged to be particularly cautious in outdoor public areas and not approach or linger in the vicinity of a bomb-related incident. Americans are cautioned not to disturb suspicious objects or packages and should report any incidents to local authorities. If you are involved in or observe a bomb incident, immediately notify the U.S. Embassy.

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