The Christmas holidays means a chance for the Australian man to try and take a rest- even a vacation. Maybe, even a trip to the Philippines over Christmas.
What about the safety issues in the Philippines?
There is some risk to your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat of terrorism risk of kidnapping and violent crime and we advise caution.
There is a threat of terrorist activity throughout the Philippines. A number of terrorist attacks have been conducted in the past and a significant number of plots have been disrupted. Explosive devices causing deaths and injuries have been detonated in public places, in major cities in Mindanao and in the Sulu archipelago.
We continue to receive reports that terrorists aspire to conduct attacks in the Philippines. The possibility of future attacks cannot be discounted, particularly in Mindanao, but attacks could occur anywhere and at any time. Possible targets could include public transport, shopping malls, hotels restaurants and places of worship.
Militant groups remain active in the Philippines and are involved in attacks, often on security forces. Armed clashes between security forces and rebel groups take place regularly, particularly in the southern provinces and the island of Mindanao. Clashes could occur with little notice, especially in the areas to which we advise against all travel.
New Zealanders in the Philippines are advised to be security conscious at all times and remain vigilant in public places – particularly at transport hubs and on public transport.
There is a risk of kidnapping throughout the Philippines. The risk is particularly high in central and western Mindanao and there is also a risk in coastal resort areas, offshore islands and dive sites in the Sulu Sea.
Kidnap-for-ransom gangs have in the past targeted foreigners, as well as Filipinos. On 21 September 2015, three foreign tourists were abducted by armed men from Samal Island, Mindanao. In April 2014, two foreign nationals were kidnapped while sailing in the Sulu Sea.
Violent crime (including gun crime) and petty crime continue to be a serious concern in the Philippines. Criminal gangs are particularly active in Manila, including in the Makati central business district, and have drugged and robbed unsuspecting tourists. New Zealanders are strongly advised to exercise a high degree of caution and pay close attention to personal security at all times when traveling anywhere in the Philippines.
We recommend particular vigilance if using public transport (including buses, jeepneys and the light rail system) due to security concerns. When taking taxis, it is advisable to use taxis called by hotel staff or alternatively from taxi ranks located outside malls rather than hailing one in the street. Hotel transportation is a good alternative.
Ferry accidents are not uncommon in the Philippines, especially when vessels sail in bad weather. Ferries are often not adequately maintained and have insufficient safety equipment.
We recommend that New Zealanders considering travel by ferry assure themselves of the vessel’s seaworthiness and safety equipment before traveling.
The Philippines is affected by a number of typhoons each year, with most occurring between June and December.
There are a number of active volcanoes in the Philippines. Filipino authorities have imposed permanent dangers zones around a number of these volcanoes.
General Travel Advice
New Zealanders traveling or living in the Philippines should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in the Philippines are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.