Ano says "not right to generalize existence of threat" in entire Mindanao
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said Wednesday "it's not right to generalize terror threat in the whole Mindanao" as the presence of terror groups are 'isolated' in certain areas.
His statement came after the United Kingdom and Australia released a travel advisory warning their citizens from travelling to the southern part of the country following a bombing in Cotabato on New Year's Eve where two persons were killed and 32 wounded.
"The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) continues to advise against all travel to Cotabato City and much of Mindanao," the United Kingdom advisory issued Wednesday said.
Australia advised "against all travel" in central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago and southern Sulu Sea. Australia added that its citizens reconsider the need to travel to Eastern Mindanao "due to high level of risk."
"It's not right to generalize the existence of threat in the whole of Mindanao. We admit the existence of terror groups and Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People's Army, but they are isolated in certain areas of Mindanao only and the national intel community issues periodic advisory," Ano said in a statement.
The DILG chief said under martial law, the local government unit and government security forces are doing their best to ensure protection of tourists and residents.
"We will intensify military and police operations in those concerned/affected areas of Mindanao and we assure the safety of tourists and travelers in Mindanao," Ano said. Ella Dionisio/DMS