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Reviewed: 27 November 2013, 16:15 NZDT
Still current at: 07 December 2013
Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda)
There is high riskto your security in Leyte, Samar, Biliran, northern Iloilo, northern Capiz and northern Cebu. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas due to the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Samar and Leyte were particularly badly damaged. The security situation on these islands is uncertain and there is a shortage of essential services and supplies. There have been reports of looting and robbery due to a lack of essential supplies, and a curfew is in effect in Tacloban City from 8 pm to 5 am.
New Zealanders in areas affected by the typhoon are advised to adhere to curfew provisions and follow the advice of local authorities.
All commercial airports in the affected regions are operational, however Tacloban airport operations remain limited. New Zealanders wishing to leave any of the affected areas are encouraged to do so and should make their own way to the airport, if it is safe to do so.You can obtain further information on the situation in typhoon affected areas from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Popular tourist areas like Boracay and the southern parts of Cebu (including Cebu city) are mostly unaffected, but you should check local conditions before travelling.
There is extreme riskto 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). We advise against all travel to these areas. The very high threat of terrorist activity, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups makes travel to these areas extremely dangerous.
There is high riskto your security in the other provinces of Mindanao, and we advise against all tourist and other 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 riskto your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat from terrorism, risk of kidnapping and violent crime and we advise caution. We continue to receive reports that terrorists aspire to attack places frequented by foreigners. 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.
There is a threat from 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. The possibility of future attacks cannot be discounted, particularly in Mindanao, but could occur anywhere at any time.
Recent terrorist attacks:
On 5 August 2013, eight people were killed and more than 30 injured when an improvised device exploded in a vehicle in Cotabato City.
On 26 July 2013, an explosion occurred at a restaurant in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, killing eight people and injuring more than 40.
In January 2011, a public bus was bombed in Makati, central Manila, killing five people and injuring over a dozen others.
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, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnap-for-ransom gangs target foreigners as well as Filipinos, including in Manila and coastal resort areas. In February 2012, two foreign nationals were kidnapped in the Tawi Tawi island province. An Australian national living in Zamboanga was kidnapped in December 2011 and released in March 2013.
Violent crime, including gun crime, and petty crime continues 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 unsuspectingtourists.
New Zealanders are advised to avoid using public transport (including buses and the light rail system), because of security concerns. When taking taxis, it is advisable to use taxis called by hotel staff or alternatively from a 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. We advise against boarding any ferry you believe to be overloaded or unseaworthy.
In August 2013 a passenger ferry, the MV St. Thomas Aquinas, sank after colliding with another vessel in the Cebu strait. This resulted in 111 fatalities.
General Travel Advice
New Zealanders travelling 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.
See our regional advice for Southeast Asia
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
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Website New Zealand Embassy Manila [external link]
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