THE United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have issued travel advisories to their citizens who are traveling to the Philippines after the night market bombing in Davao City late Friday that killed 11 people and injured 67 others.
In its travel advisory, the UK government has advised its British nationals in Davao to “exercise heightened vigilance, avoid the affected areas, and follow the advice of local authorities.”
“The level of our advice has not changed. We continue to advise against all but essential travel to eastern Mindanao, including Davao City, assess a high threat from terrorism throughout the country, and urge a high degree of vigilance nationwide,” the UK government stated in its Travel Advisory that was updated on Saturday.
For Canada part, its citizen advise to “exercise a high degree of caution.”
“There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Philippines, however, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to an ongoing terrorist threat to Westerners and Western interests,” the Canadian government stated.
Canada has recently advised against all travel to the Mindanao Region due to serious threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping.
Two of the Canadian nationals who were held hostage were beheaded by Islamist group Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) this year.
The Australian government has also issued the same travel advisory and urging its Australian nationals to “reconsider their travel” to eastern Mindanao due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping.
“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines due to the high threat of a terrorist attack and the high level of crime. You should play close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks. Seek specific advice for the locations you intend to visit,” the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated.
As of press time, other countries has yet to issue any travel advisory.
Meanwhile, the United States said that it is ready to provide assistance to Philippine authorities in investigating the explosion in a downtown market in Davao City.
In a statement, US National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price aIso said that US President Barack Obama will offer his personal condolences to President Rodrigo Duterte next week when the two leaders meet at the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Laos.
“We understand that local authorities continue to investigate the cause of the explosion in the night market, and the United States stands ready to provide assistance to the investigation,” Price said.
Price also said that the United States offers deep condolences to the families and other loved ones of the victims of the explosion.
“The United States offers deep condolences to the families and other loved ones of the victims of the explosion in the Philippines’ Davao City, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured,” Price said.
The ASG claimed responsibility for the blast but President Rodrigo Duterte said that investigators were also looking at other possible suspects, including drug syndicates.
ASG extremists earlier threatened to launch attacks amid a week-long intensified military operation against them in Sulu province after it beheaded an abducted villager.
This group was behind numerous terror attacks around the country, several kidnappings of foreigners and is notorious for beheading its captives if their ransom demand is not met.
Philippine-US counter-terrorism cooperation has successfully led to the killing of key local terrorist from the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao but the group continues to thrive even as its members have dwindled in recent years.