Palace says travel alerts ‘natural’; asserts Mindanao travel ‘very safe’

/ 02:55 PM January 03, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday said “it’s natural” for “any government” to issue travel warnings to its citizens even as it insisted the recent deadly bombing in Cotabato City was “just an isolated case.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a briefing the Palace understands the intention of foreign governments in issuing travel alerts on the Philippines to ensure their citizens’ welfare and security.


He also asserted “it is very safe to travel in Mindanao.”

Following the bombing incident in front of a Cotabato City mall where two civilians were killed and which left dozens injured, the United Kingdom and Australian governments respectively issued travel advisories for Mindanao.


READ: UK issues travel advisory for Mindanao after Cotabato bombing / Australian gov’t issues advisory vs traveling to Mindanao

“It’s natural for any foreign government, or any government for that matter, to be concerned sa welfare, sa safety ng kanilang mamamayan and we cannot blame them kung nagkaroon sila ng ganyang panananaw sapagkat nagkaroon ng bombahan sa Cotabato but ‘yun ay isolated case lang naman,” Panelo said.

“In so far as the National Defense Secretary is concerned, it is very safe to travel in Mindanao,” he added.

In their travel advisories, the United Kingdom and Australia cautioned their citizens from traveling to Mindanao, citing threats of terrorist activity and kidnapping.

Malacañang has already vowed to “get to the bottom” of the Cotabato City blast at the “soonest possible time.”

READ: Palace vows to ‘get to the bottom’ of Cotabato City mall blast

Earlier, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said an improvised explosive device (IED) was used in the explosion, which ripped through stalls selling firecrackers in front of the mall. After the blast, authorities also defused another IED found at the malls’ second floor baggage counter.

Police also said the IED used in the blast is similar to the signature composition of explosives used by ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups. /kga


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