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Reviewed: 14 May 2013, 12:55 NZDT
Still current at: 26 May 2013
There is extreme risk to your security throughout central and western Mindanao, including Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (including Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi) including Cotabato City and Isabella City, and we advise against all travel to these areas. The very high threat of terrorism, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups makes travel to these areas extremely dangerous.
There is high risk to your security in the other provinces of Mindanao, and we advise against all non-essential travel to those areas due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist and rebel groups.
There is some risk to your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks including in places frequented by foreigners such as large shopping malls and convention centres. New Zealanders are strongly advised to exercise a high degree of caution and pay close attention to personal security at all times when travelling anywhere in the Philippines.
Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines. In March 2011 at least five people were killed when a bomb exploded outside a school in Jolo City, Sulu. In January 2011 an explosion on a passenger bus in Makati City, Manila, killed five people and injured 13 others. While no link to any particular terrorist group has been confirmed, the possibility of such a link has not been ruled out. In August 2010 a bomb exploded at Zamboanga City airport, killing two people and injuring a number of others, including one foreigner.
There is a risk of kidnapping throughout the Philippines. Kidnap-for-ransom gangs target foreigners as well as Filipinos, including in Manila and coastal resort areas.
Crime continues to be a serious concern, especially in Manila. Criminal gangs are active in Manila, including in the Makati central business district, and have drugged and robbed unsuspecting tourists.
New Zealanders are advised to avoid using public transport (including buses, the light rail system and passenger ferries), because of security and/or safety concerns. When taking taxis, if possible have hotel staff call the taxi so they can verify the taxi is genuine, otherwise take one from a taxi rank outside a mall 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. In 2008 three ferry accidents resulted in the loss of around 800 lives.
Piracy/maritime crime does occur in coastal areas of the Philippines, particularly in the waters between Sabah in Malaysia and the southern Philippines. Pirates have been known to target ships at anchor, and other vulnerable vessels, off coastal Manila and surrounding waters. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these areas. For more information see the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.
New Zealanders travelling or living in the Philippines should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies that include 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.
Information on entry of foreign minors into the Philippines
Street Address 23rd floor, BPI Buendia Center, 360 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati 1200, The Philippines
Postal Address PO Box 3228 MCPO, Makati 1272, The Philippines
Telephone +63 2 891 5358
Facsimile +63 2 891 5357
Website New Zealand Embassy Manila [external link]
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1630 hrs