MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that the government was exerting all efforts to avert terror activity in Palawan amid security concerns in the popular tourist destination.
This as the Palace called for public vigilance following a United States advisory urging its citizens to avoid travel to the province, citing kidnapping threats.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command, has been placed on heightened alert to prevent any untoward incident in the province.
“All units and assets are being utilized to ensure maximum security to deny any terrorist group’s entry and access in the high seas and coastal areas,” Abella said in a statement.
“We urge everyone’s cooperation, including residents and tourists, to be mindful and immediately report to law enforcement units any questionable individual or activity in the areas," he said.
The US Embassy in Manila on Tuesday warned that terrorists were planning a kidnapping spree in Palawan.
In a travel advisory, the Embassy advised US citizens to avoid going to Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, among the province's most popular spots.
"The U.S. Embassy has received credible information that terrorist groups may be planning to conduct kidnapping operations targeting foreign nationals in the areas of Palawan Province, Philippines, to include Puerto Princesa City, and the areas surrounding Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park," the statement read.
"U.S citizens are advised to carefully consider this information as they make their travel plans and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times," it added.
In an interview with DZMM, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez identified northern Palawan as the area most vulnerable to attacks, but added that terror threats the US Embassy had cited have yet to be validated.