Panglao mayor alarmed over US warning on travel to Bohol, Cebu

Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero on Monday expressed alarm over the United States Embassy’s issuance of a security advisory warning its citizens on travelling to Central Visayas, particularly Bohol and Cebu.

According to Montero whose town is a top tourist destination, security in Panglao has been intensified following the embassy’s warning which, based on the advisory, is backed by “unsubstantiated yet credible information.”

However, Montero said that the town remains peaceful amid the embassy’s advisory which noted that “terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings in Central Visayas.”

Authorities in Panglao have not received any direct information regarding imminent threats to security in the town, she said.

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Besides the town’s safety, the mayor also raised concern over the travel advisory’s effect on tourist influx particularly as some summer vacationers from all over the world have already started to arrive in the province.

Montero said that visitors have nothing to worry about as tight security measures are already in place, including those meant for the upcoming ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit meetings which will be held in Panglao.

For his part, Gov. Edgar Chatto has directed police to heighten monitoring activities particularly in coastal areas and coordinate with mayors and barangay officials in securing their respective towns and villages.

On Sunday, the US embassy in Manila told its citizens to be careful in travelling to Central Visayas.

“Citizens are advised to carefully consider this information as you make your travel plans, and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times,” the advisory said.

In November last year, the US Embassy also warned its citizens on traveling to southern Cebu amid purported threats of kidnapping.

The Police Regional Office-7, a few days after the security advisory was issued, allayed fears on the possible terrorist activities.

No kidnappings were carried by armed groups in southern Cebu and the rest of the region since the advisory’s release. (Allen Doydora)



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