Government downplays Australia travel warning against PH after Buendia bus blast

Over the weekend, government officials downplayed a travel warning against the Philippines issued by Australia on Friday, following last week’s Buendia bus blast.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte told radio dzRB that Australia’s travel advisory was only updated as a precaution and to "inform" their citizens in the country. "(The) overall tenor of the travel advisory has not changed," GMANews.tv quoted her as saying.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. told dwIZ radio, "What they do is just update. I don’t think may panibagong advisory na na-issue (a new advisory was issued) as a result of the bombing incident." He added, "’Di naman sinabing bawal (The advisory did not tell Australian citizens to avoid the Philippines)."

In the travel advisory, the Australian government advised its citizens to "exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of serious crime." The advisory also noted the Buendia bus explosion that left five dead and 14 injured.

Following the bus blast, the United Kingdom has also reissued its Philippine travel advice. "There is a high threat (of) terrorism throughout the Philippines. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers." However, it noted that "the Philippine government is taking action against the terrorist and kidnapping threat. It has tightened security in Metro Manila and other areas considered at high risk, including airports and seaports."

For more on this story, log on to GMANews.tv.

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