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US revises travel advisory to PH

The United States has revised its travel advisory to the Philippines, removing specific urban areas, such as Manila in the text.

The advisory says US citizens should defer non-essential travel to Sulu Archipelago due to instances of kidnapping and terrorist-related violence in the area.

In the island of Mindanao, US citizens were advised to observe extreme caution since criminal groups have clashed with the Philippine Armed Forces, particularly in rural areas.

The advisory also mentions the state of calamities in Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat and the Maguindanao provinces.

The US releases a travel advisory to the Philippines every six months. The June 14 recent travel advisory replaces the one released on January 5, 2012.

Deputy Palace Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the latest advisory is an improvement over previous one as it omitted specific reference to any area of the country, including Manila, except Mindanao and Sulu.

Valte, said that what the US issued was a “normal travel advisory” and that “it’s not a terror alert.”

“If you compare, their travel advisory was downgraded because that warning did not include Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Manila. There’s no more in the urban centers,” Valte said.

“It’s good that it’s been downgraded because we’ve always maintained that the Metro (Manila) is safe, our urban centers are safe for our tourists,” she added.