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In Spite of Travel Warnings, is it Still Safe to Move to the Philippines?

“In Spite of Travel Warnings, is it Still Safe to Move to the Philippines? “ Thirty-seven people were killed in a Manila casino this past Friday. A lone masked gunman walked straight into the building, past a lone security guard who panicked when she saw the suspect’s assault rifle. The victims are thought to have died of smoke inhalation. None of them appear to have been shot.

ISIS Attack?

While initial reports indicated a possible terrorist attack, Philippine authorities have ruled out terrorism. The deranged gunman robbed the Resort Worlds Manila casino and stuffed casino chips worth over a 100 million pesos into his backpack.

However, late Friday, ISIS claimed responsibility in a statement from its Amaq media wing, which said “Islamic State fighters” carried out the attack.

The attacker, described as a foreigner by the Manila police chief because the suspect “looks Caucasian, he talks English, he’s big and he’s white…” later set himself on fire and shot and killed himself.

Marawi City Conflict

Despite ongoing terrorism activities on the Philippines island of Mindanao, particularly Marawi City, and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, is it still safe to move to the Philippines?

President Duterte said the influence of Islamic State is one of the nation’s top security concerns, and martial law on Mindanao island could be extended across the Philippines to enforce order, allowing the detention of people without charge.

Gun battles between ISIS-linked militants and Filipino troops erupted in Marawi city recently when gunmen from the local terrorist groups Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf rampaged through the southern city. Thousands of residents were reported to have fled from Marawi city while at least 21 people were killed, including a police chief who had been beheaded and buildings were torched by the terror groups.

Gun battles between ISIS-linked militants and Filipino troops in Marawi city continue.

(Source: CNN)

Travel Warnings Fly Fast

After the tragic attack at Resorts World Manila, travel warnings from the United States and other countries were flying faster than feathers at a fiesta cockfight.

Despite reports of armed thugs roaming Guimaras, the island province, we call home, I personally feel relatively safe in our home in the Philippines.

But reports of an execution-style murder a few minutes drive from our house, and a declaration from a Filipino gentleman that “we will be safe here” have set off a few alarm bells.

“We Will be Safe Here”

No matter how good their intentions when someone tells me that “we will be safe here” doesn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

We were having a few cold beers the other night when the proprietor of a local establishment greeted me and assured our party that “we will be safe here.” Was the fact that the gentleman had a bodyguard with him have something to do with his remark?

“Why wouldn’t we be safe here?” I thought to myself.

Sure, I want to sell more copies of my E-book, “The Philippines Expat Advisor,” but I always want to give my readers an honest opinion about an expat’s life in the Philippines. If telling you the truth about any negative experiences about living in the Philippines results in a decline of sales for my book, so be it. I would rather you have an informed decision about living here than one seen through “rose-colored” glasses.

Guimaras sunsetThe Verdict

Because of the martial law declaration in the Philippines, there has been an increase of security in the archipelago. During a recent solo trip to Iloilo City, my asawa noticed police check points near the Iloilo port area, something neither of us had witnessed before.

While I would certainly pay heed to the U.S. State Department travel warnings to Mindanao, I would still encourage anyone planning a move to the Philippines to soldier on with their plans. Don’t let some chuckle-headed, asinine terrorists put your plans on hold.

That said, be wary of where you plan to move to in the Philippines. Aside from Davao and General Santos City, I, personally, would be wary of living in certain sections of Mindanao. While President Duterte is trying to negotiate peace in Mindanao, radical Islamic terrorists are not going to stop their worldwide campaign of terror anytime soon. Some reports even indicate that the Philippines could possibly be the next stronghold of ISIS.

Frankly, I’ve never had any issues with security while living in the Philippines these past eight years. Use some common sense and you really shouldn’t have any problems. I personally feel just as safe in the Philippines as I did back in Central Illinois where I lived for almost 56 years. So live that dream and make your own move to the Philippines today!

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