U.S. Embassy Issues Travel Advisory for Palawan. The U.S. Embassy has received credible information that terrorist groups may be planning to conduct kidnapping operations targeting foreign nationals in the areas of Palawan Province, Philippines.
Possible Targets: Puerto Princesa and the Subterranean River National Park
The Embassy warning includes Puerto Princesa City, and the areas surrounding Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
U.S citizens are advised to carefully consider this information as they make their travel plans and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times.
My asawa and I visited Puerto Princesa and the Underground River last September. At the time no travel advisories for the area had been issued.
Personally, I would heed this latest travel advisory due to the recent bombings in Manila and the April 2017 invasion of the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol.
The Bohol Conflict Predicted
On April 9, 2017, the U.S. Embassy warned of possible kidnappings in Central Visayas, which includes both Cebu and Bohol provinces Two days later on April 11, members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf invaded Inabanga, Bohol.
Three Philippine Army soldiers, a policeman, four terrorists and two civilians were killed during the initial firefight.
The clash marked the first recorded operation of the Abu Sayyaf group in the Visayas region of the Philippines, far from their strongholds in the Sulu Archipelago.
U.S. Embassy Advice
The U.S. Embassy wishes to remind U.S. citizens of an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines.
Extremists have targeted sporting events, theaters, markets, mass transportation systems–including airlines, and other public venues where large crowds gather.
Crowded nightclubs, shopping malls, buses and popular restaurants have also been targets.
U.S. citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines. (Source: U.S. Embassy in the Philippines)
Personally, though the U.S. Embassy has been issuing travel advisories for the Philippines for many years, this is one advisory that probably shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re planning a trip to the Underground River in Palawan or Puerto Princesa exercise extreme caution and always be aware of your surroundings.
UPDATE: KIDNAP PLAN REVEALED
The Philippine military on Wednesday said in a statement it “shared the same concerns” as the US government, and that it had increased security at Palawan’s tourism sites.
Despite the US travel alert, the Army’s Western Command said Palawan remained safe for locals and foreign nationals.
But Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said his troops in Central Visayas monitored a terror threat in the region.
“I was briefed by the regional director in the Police Regional Office-7 that they indeed monitored [a terrorist threat] but we have appropriate action to thwart such threats,” Dela Rosa said.
The Abu Sayyaf raided a resort in Puerto Princesa’s Honda Bay in 2001, abducting three Americans and 17 Filipinos.
One of the Americans was beheaded, while one was killed in a military rescue attempt a year later. The third American was freed in the rescue effort.
(Source: Manila Standard)