Due to the increased risk of terrorist attacks, the Philippine police were placed on a heightened alert nationwide on December 1st, 2016 until further notice. This took place in the context of more intense battles between the Philippine army and Islamist groups in the south of the country (Mindanao) as well as in the aftermath of a bomb attack on November 29, 2016 in Marawi (Mindanao), in which 9 people were injured, and a failed bomb attack in near the US Embassy in Manila.
On September 2nd, 2016, a bomb attack was carried out on a night market in the city of Davao in eastern Mindanao. The army and police were put on alert, and the Philippines was declared a state of lawlessness with special powers for the security forces. Increased controls by the army and police are to be expected, and further acts of violence cannot be ruled out.
The Federal Foreign Office advises against unnecessary trips to Mindanao until further notice.
Warning level 1 has also been lifted for the Taal volcano. However, there are still warnings against steam explosions and the release of toxic gases at the main crater. A restricted area of 4 km has been established around the Bulusan volcano on Luzon (Sorsogon province). Warning level 1 applies. Since 24.11.2015, warning level 1 has also applied to the Kanlaon volcano on the island of Negros, combined with a restricted area of 4 km. Warning level 1 has been in effect again for Mount Mayon since September 8, 2016, and entering the danger zone of 6 km around the volcano is not permitted.
Country-specific safety information
According to youremailverifier, the Philippines are hit by around 20 typhoons each year. Earthquakes, seaquakes and tsunamis must be expected in the region. Especially in the rainy season, which normally lasts from June to November, there are always heavy local rains, which can be accompanied by floods and landslides. This can lead to interruptions in public services and flight cancellations. Since the weather situation in the Philippines sometimes changes without warning, travelers should inform themselves regularly in the media. Weather reports, especially typhoon warnings, can be called up on the website of the Philippine weather service “Pagasa” External link, opens in new window www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/.
There are also a number of active volcanoes in the Philippines. Information from the Philippine volcano and earthquake monitoring station (PHILVOLCS) can be found at External link, opens in new window www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph. Tsunami warnings and information on volcanic activity are also posted there.
Terrorism and kidnapping crime
Attacks by Philippine terrorist groups can occur anywhere in the country. There is an increased risk especially in the country’s major cities in busy places such as shopping centers and at events with large crowds (e.g. festivals and processions. However, the risk is particularly high in Mindanao. The attacks are carried out by Islamist extremists.
The Abu Sayyaf is responsible for kidnappings of both Filipino nationals and foreigners, which occur again and again, especially in Mindanao and in the Sulu Sea. In the Sulu Sea, attacks on sailing and diving boats can also occur. Also on Palawan and on islands further north of Mindanao, including the holiday islands Boracay and Siargao, a kidnapping risk cannot be ruled out. Warning messages from the authorities or from the local media must be taken seriously.
From trips to Central and West Mindanao including the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Mindanao Sea, the Sulu Sea including South Palawan and its islands as well as the southern archipelagos Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi-Islands, Turtle-Islands and all Sulu-Islands (Basilan, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and others) between Mindanao and East Malaysia is strongly discouraged. The same goes for overland transfers across Mindanao.
Unnecessary travel in North Palawan and Boracay Island is not recommended due to the increased risk of kidnapping.
There is also a risk of attacks and kidnappings in Manila and Cebu. Since a 2011 bomb attack on a tour bus in Makati, Manila’s business hub, there have been several reports of prevented bombings in the greater Manila area.
The urgent appeals of the authorities against illegal drug possession, which is punished in the Philippines with harsh prison sentences (from 5 g life imprisonment possible, if arrested in an airport or ferry port is punishable by suspecting trafficking) should be heeded. To make matters worse, the fight against drug trafficking and consumption declared under President Duterte has already led to a high number of killings of drug dealers and drug addicts.
The general crime rate, including serious violent crime, is high. Travelers should avoid drawing attention to themselves by valuables that are visible in public or carrying large amounts of cash with them. It is recommended to close the doors and windows when driving a private car or taxi in the city. It is also advised not to accept food and drinks from strangers (risk of knockout drops) and to be careful when consuming alcohol (beach parties) in company, as sudden violence can break out and it can also lead to death. Offers from strangers to tour tours as well as the taking of luggage (especially on domestic and international flights) should be rejected. Cases have also become known
Travel by ferries should be avoided when other travel options exist. Ferries are often overloaded, not always equipped with adequate lifeboats and often inadequately maintained.