Despite last Monday’s carnage caused by a bomb that exploded inside a passenger bus that has of yet claimed 5 lives and injured many more, President Aquino remains unconvinced that the travel advisories issued last year by 6 foreign governments are credible.
In general terms, the travel advisories spoke of possible terrorist attacks in Philippine cities, including Metro Manila. That the advisories apparently did not jibe with domestic intelligence data prompted the government to believe that the travel advisories were implausible.
That the advisories warned of terrorist attacks in places frequented by foreigners, such as malls, strengthened the argument of the government (so they say) that the advisories were unreliable because the attack was made in a bus.
Such is the logic of the Aquino government.
Maybe from now on, we should look to these foreign advisories for our own safety precautions. If these governments see it fit to warn their citizens of terrorist attacks then why should we rely on our government unruffled by any terrorist warnings? It’s the least we can do since our own government still believes these terror warnings, despite last Monday’s bus bombing, are not credible.
For everyone’s info, below are the travel advisories issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and U.S.A to their citizens. Of the 6, these 4 were chosen because they have remained unchanged since being issued November-December last year.
By the way, the Australian travel advisory (see below) included “public transport including buses” as possible terrorist targets.
The Travel Advisories
Australian Travel Advice as of December 3, 2010
Level: high degree of caution
Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines, including in Manila. We continue to receive credible reports indicating terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets in a variety of locations, including places frequented by foreigners. You should avoid places known to be terrorist targets (see the Terrorism section below).
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack and high level of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Terrorist attacks, including bombings, are possible any time, anywhere in the Philippines, including in Manila. We continue to receive credible reports indicating terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include places frequented by foreigners such as shopping malls (including mega malls), markets, embassies, expatriate housing complexes, hostels, guest houses, clubs, hotels, restaurants, fast food outlets, bars, pubs, cinemas, convention centres, places of worship, public transport including buses and bus terminals, ferries and trains, schools, tourist areas, festivals, outdoor recreation and major sporting events. Infrastructure associated with the Philippines Government such as airports, airfields, sea ports, railways, roads, military facilities, oil depots, power and telecommunications facilities and public buildings are also potential terrorist targets. [underline supplied]
Level: high degree of caution
Bomb attacks could occur at any time in Manila and other key cities. Targets could include places frequented by foreigners such as large shopping malls and convention centres.
Terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur not only in the southern islands but also in other areas, to include Manila. Targeted sites may be public gathering places that are frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers, including American citizens. Such sites could include, but are not limited to, airports, shopping malls, conference centers and other public venues.
There is some risk to your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks including in places frequented by foreigners such as large shopping malls and convention centres. New Zealanders are strongly advised to exercise caution at this time.
If you were a nation’s leader and read these advisories, would you consider them unreliable because the information therein were not picked up by your local intelligence people? And would you continue to dismiss them after all that’s happened? Which is worse - being led by the blind or by idiots?