Safety and security
We advise against all travel to South West Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago and against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao.
If you’re travelling to the Philippines, always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. The Philippines Bureau of Immigration has specifically warned foreign nationals against participating in public protests and political rallies. Foreign nationals who participate in these activities may be detained and deported for violating Philippine immigration laws.
There is a high threat from terrorism in the Philippines. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country, including in Manila. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers like airports, shopping malls and places of worship. Be aware of the risk of terrorist attacks to all forms of public transport: road, rail, sea and air. Terrorist groups have threatened to attack passenger ferries and other vessels, particularly those operating from Mindanao. You should avoid using public transport throughout Mindanao.
There is a threat from kidnapping, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnapping could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and on dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea. Foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas in the past.
There’s a high level of violent crime, including gun crime. Criminal gangs sometimes use terrorist tactics like kidnapping. Explosions attributed to criminal organisations have caused fatalities.
There is a high incidence of street crime and robbery. Some taxi drivers and their accomplices have robbed and harmed passengers. Be particularly vigilant when travelling on public transport. Armed hold-ups have occurred on ‘jeepneys’ and buses. In some cases these have resulted in fatalities.
You should take sensible precautions.
- Arrange to be met at the airport or use a hotel transfer service. Only use taxis from a reputable company.
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Beware of strangers offering drinks or confectionery that may be spiked.
- Always be careful about your personal safety. Get advice from local contacts, avoid travel off the beaten track and always leave travel plans with friends, colleagues or relatives. Safety standards on taxis, buses and boats can be low.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in the Philippines, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Singapore if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Philippines, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
With the exception of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air, all air carriers from the Philippines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU due to safety concerns.
Avoid travel on ferries if possible. Ferries are often overloaded, lack necessary lifesaving equipment, are not adequately maintained and have incomplete passenger manifests. Storms can develop quickly.
There is a high level of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around Philippine waters.
Maritime rescue services in the Philippines may be limited.
Tue, 11 Sep 2018 08:51:12 BST