Aussie travel advisory just a reiteration of previous advisory: AFP

By Priam Nepomuceno

November 4, 2017, 11:25 am

MANILA – Australia’s latest travel advisory regarding possible terror attacks in the Philippines is merely a reiteration of that issued last May during the height of the Maute Group attacks in Marawi City, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

"The AFP has verified the matter with the Australian Embassy and has found out that the travel advisory is a reiteration of a previous travel advisory issued earlier in May. It was reissued in a more succinct manner and may have an update next week following the end of combat operations in Marawi," Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said when asked to comment on the matter late Friday.

Australia, in its Nov. 3 travel advisory to the Philippines, said there is a high threat of terrorist attack in the country, including Manila.

"Exercise heightened caution at this time. Be alert to possible threats around locations that have a low level of protective security and places known to be possible terrorist targets," the advisory added.

The United Kingdom (UK) likewise said its existing travel advisory regarding terror threats in the Philippines remains in effect. The alert in its official website, updated Nov. 3, was identified as "still current" on November 4.

"Militant groups in rural areas throughout the Philippines. Armed clashes between security forces and militant groups can occur at any time without warning. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines, including in Manila," the advisory stated.

It warned UK nationals against visiting places frequented by foreigners, such as airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship.

The UK government advised its nationals that before traveling to rural areas, "research the area thoroughly".

Fighting in Marawi City was declared over after military forces killed Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, one of the founders of the Maute Group, last October 23.

The fighting, which began May 23, killed an estimated 920 terrorists and their allies along with 165 soldiers and 47 civilians.

When asked if there are still terror threats in the country, Padilla said the AFP has yet to detect any at the moment.

"Wala, reiteration lang ito. (Nothing, this is just a reiteration.) The threat that they perceived in May is the same," he added. (Joyce Ann Rocamora/PNA)