Australia issues travel warning

Paterno Esmaquel II
Citing terrorist activities, Australia advises its citizens here to avoid all travel to southwest Mindanao and Sulu

BLACK FLAG. Filipinos carry the black flag in southern Philippines. It symbolizes the apocalypse that would bring about the triumph of Islam. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Australia on Monday, July 1, advised its citizens against all travel to parts of Mindanao.

The Australian government cancelled all travel by embassy staff to the cities of Davao, Cotabato, and Zamboanga. In its warning on Monday, Australia cited “security reasons,” particularly terrorism.

It also strongly advised its citizens against traveling to central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga peninsula and the Sulu archipelago. This is “due to the very high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, violent crime, and violent clashes between armed groups.”

The Australian government added that citizens should “reconsider” their need to travel to eastern Mindanao.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also reiterated its travel advice to its citizens here. In an advisory described as “still current” on July 2, the FCO advised “against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of ongoing terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.”

“There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping,” the FCO said.

Citing the same reasons, the FCO also advised against “all but essential travel” to the remaining parts of Mindanao.

The warning came after the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) kidnapped two Fil-Moroccan sisters in Sulu. 

In May, the UK, Australia, and the United States also issued travel warnings over supposed security threats. The Philippine government refuted their warnings. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at