Travel advisory: Canadians urged to avoid all travel to parts of the Philippines

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Philippines travel advisory
Green tree on a white sand beach in Philippines / Shutterstock

The Canadian Government has issued a travel advisory for the Philippines due to a threat of terrorism and a high level of crime.

Canadians are advised to avoid all travel to Western and Central Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, “due to the serious threat of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, high levels of criminality, and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.”

Furthermore, Canadians are advised to avoid travel to the southern Sulu Sea, including the waters south of the island of Palawan, due to a threat of piracy and kidnappings.

The department only issues an “avoid all travel advisory” when it determines that there is an, “extreme risk to your personal safety and security.” As a result, it underscores that, “You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.”

This includes the provinces of:

  • Basilan
  • Cotabato
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Maguindanao
  • Misamis Occidental
  • North Cotabato
  • Sarangani
  • South Cotabato
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay

In addition, the government advises that Canadians should avoid all non-essential travel to Eastern Mindanao, “due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping, high levels of criminality, and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups.”

With that being said, the advisory also notes that the conditions in Eastern Mindanao are more stable than in Western Mindanao. ‘Non essential travel’ means that there, “are specific safety and security concerns that could put you at risk.” As a result, tourists should determine whether they need to be in the country. If not, they should consider leaving while it is still safe to do so.

This includes the provinces of:

  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Bukidnon
  • Camiguin
  • Compostela Valley
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao Oriental
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur

Martial law has been in effect in the Mindanao region since May 2017, and will remain until the end of 2019. Curfews could be imposed and checkpoints established with little notice.

A state of emergency is currently in effect for the Philippines.