By Roy Mabasa
The British government has removed Palawan in the list of areas in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, where a travel restriction for its citizens is hoisted.
“Terrorism section (Kidnapping) – removal of information on Palawan,” the United Kingdom-based Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posted on its website on Saturday.
On Friday, the FCO also removed the south of Cebu from the list of areas that may pose danger to its travelling citizens.
“Please note that this is a substantive change rather than the more usual factual updates. A substantive change is when we change our advice on what British nationals should or shouldn’t do. A factual update is when we do not change our advice, but we add information about something that has happened or in existence in the country concerned to help British Nationals be aware of recent events,” according to British Embassy Press and Communications Manager Cecille Fontanilla.
Before the Christmas holidays last year, the FCO issued an advisory to its citizens against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.
Except for Camiguin, Dinagat, Siargao, south of Cebu and Palawan, travel restriction is still up in the remaining areas of Mindanao, largely due to possible terror attack or kidnapping.
On December 31, 2018, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded outside a shopping mall in Cotabato City that left at least two persons dead and several others wounded.
Three weeks later on January 21, 2019 two explosions rocked the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu while a mass was ongoing killing 23 persons and wounded more than a hundred churchgoers.