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  1. #11558

    Marawi / Iligan.

    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    Makes sense. Below is from the US Dept of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security's website (OSAC), regarding Philippine crime / safety 2017:

    https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentRe...aspx?cid=21253

    The PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) is primarily responsible for kidnapping investigations.

    In 2016, there were 22 reported kidnappings, predominantly of local citizens. Thirteen of these incidents occurred in Mindanao.

    AKG officials report that kidnapping incidents in Mindanao are most often perpetrated by Muslim insurgent/terrorist organizations (ASG, MILF, the Lawless MILF Group). Kidnappings remain prevalent in western Mindanao, particularly in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao; on the Zamboanga Peninsula; in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat; in the Chartered Cities of Zamboanga, General Santos City, Cotabato, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro; and throughout the Sulu Sea. Several militant groups see kidnap-for-ransom as a way to fund their operations, and foreigners are often targeted. .
    I go to Iligan several times a year and there have always been warnings for as long as I can remember. I was there last July when the fighting in Marawi was going on. It's about a 45 minute drive from where I was staying and we'd occasionally hear helicopters overhead and the occasional explosion. There were soldiers everywhere and they were emptying out all vehicles so everyone could walk through the various checkpoints. I went through them twice a day for a week and was only stopped once (must be my lovely fair complexion).

    Most of the schools were being used as temporary shelters for the Marawi refugees. It was strange seeing so many head scarfs in the christian schools.

    I was back in March this year and it was pretty much back to normal. There were still soldiers around but they were joking with us as we went through the checkpoints. One even asked to take some pictures. Most of the locals I know didn't seem bothered. The only grumbling seemed to be having to allow more time to get through the checkpoints.

  2. #11557
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    KG, question: What would you have them do? Post nothing? Many governments post information about travel in other countries (their citizens might consider them remiss if they didn't). Due diligence suggests they post it.
    There are random events happening all over the Philippines, and not all of them are reported.

    Last week (April 18) the NPA attacked a barangay outpost in Surigao del Norte. A civilian expat was killed and 2 others injured.

    2 weeks ago there was an unreported attack in Butuan (I was advised not to go to CdO for business as a result of that). In February there was another attempted kidnapping of a foreigner in South-eastern Luzon (again, unreported on request of the foreigner). I learned about it from a mutual friend.

    The Australian and US warnings cannot hope to cover every corner of the Philippines, so they issue blanket coverage.

    Travellers should do their own specific diligence prior to travelling anywhere rather than relying on generalized and non-specific warnings.

  3. #11556
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    KG officials report that kidnapping incidents in Mindanao are most often perpetrated by Muslim insurgent/terrorist organizations (ASG, MILF, the Lawless MILF Group).
    There's a lawless group of Mothers I'd Like to Fuck roaming around kidnapping foreigners? Sounds like the best way to go ever!

  4. #11555
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    As for dogs, I've been flying in and out of DFW since the late 70's, worked there for a while in the 80's, and have never seen any kind of police dog at that airport. Never.
    Now you're causing me to rethink my experience on the morning of April 9th. I had just departed immigration and customs, turned a checked bag over to the baggage handlers for rerouting on my domestic flight, and then proceeded to the TSA security point. There was a fairly long line of people, including some who were coming in from outside the airport, and the place was swarming with TSA officers. Most were smiling and pleasant, but as usual, there is always one barking out directions who thinks he's still a drill sergeant dealing with recruits rather than with civilians. And then one TSA officer guided a black lab along the line of people with carry-on bags. He directed all of us to step to the side within the queuing line to make room for him and the dog to pass through. He probably checked 200 people and their bags within about ten minutes. But I'm open to considering that this was actually a hologram of a TSA officer and a lab.

  5. #11554
    Quote Originally Posted by KabulGuy  [View Original Post]
    If there is a risk, then post it with some actual indicators of the actual risk of being there. I. e. Don't say threat of terrorist activity, say what specific incidents have occurred, let me make an informed decision about the place.
    Makes sense. Below is from the US Dept of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security's website (OSAC), regarding Philippine crime / safety 2017:

    https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentRe...aspx?cid=21253

    The PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) is primarily responsible for kidnapping investigations.

    In 2016, there were 22 reported kidnappings, predominantly of local citizens. Thirteen of these incidents occurred in Mindanao.

    AKG officials report that kidnapping incidents in Mindanao are most often perpetrated by Muslim insurgent/terrorist organizations (ASG, MILF, the Lawless MILF Group). Kidnappings remain prevalent in western Mindanao, particularly in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao; on the Zamboanga Peninsula; in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat; in the Chartered Cities of Zamboanga, General Santos City, Cotabato, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro; and throughout the Sulu Sea. Several militant groups see kidnap-for-ransom as a way to fund their operations, and foreigners are often targeted.

    The AFP stated that the ASG was holding 13 foreign hostages kidnapped between February 1, 2012 and April 15, 2016. Although, the vast majority of the kidnapping victims are Philippine nationals, the period of 2014-2016 saw a marked increase in foreign hostage-taking. In 2016, ASG was linked to the kidnappings of one Norwegian, one Korean, two Canadian, and two Malaysian nationals. AFP indicates it is aware of at least 18 foreign citizens being held hostage throughout the southern Philippines by ASG and other KFR groups.

  6. #11553
    Quote Originally Posted by KabulGuy  [View Original Post]
    Dogs are getting much more common elsewhere.
    They have always been common. Just because one person has never seen them don't mean shit. It was in 1994 that I applied to be a Canine Enforcement Officer with US Customs. I found out about the job because a buddy that I was in college with was messing with a girl at the school next to ours who was an immigration officer and she brought me applications for the positions that were open.

  7. #11552
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    ....
    As for dogs, I've been flying in and out of DFW since the late 70's, worked there for a while in the 80's, and have never seen any kind of police dog at that airport. Never.
    Dogs are getting much more common elsewhere.

    Funny story.

    In Kandahar you need to line up with your luggage and be sniffed by the dog before even entering the airport. Once we were flying our helo from Kandahar to a construction site that was just being set up. The guys there had been eating MRE (3 lies in one) for over a month with only limited local fresh stuff.

    We went to the pizza place on the base and bought a stack of pizza for them as a treat. Of course the boxes were sniffed and attracted a lot of attention from the dogs.

    Moral of the story, hide your contraband in a pizza box. LOL.

  8. #11551
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    KG, question: What would you have them do? Post nothing? Many governments post information about travel in other countries (their citizens might consider them remiss if they didn't). Due diligence suggests they post it.
    How about posting the truth? Not the alternate truth but the real truth.

    In my example of polar bears in Edmonton, even in pre settlement days there never were polar bears anywhere near the place. It is the wrong climate and terrain for them.

    If there is a risk, then post it with some actual indicators of the actual risk of being there. I. e. Don't say threat of terrorist activity, say what specific incidents have occurred, let me make an informed decision about the place.

  9. #11550
    Quote Originally Posted by KabulGuy  [View Original Post]
    This is typical CYA bullshit. The State department is just trying to cover themselves. If you go anywhere and are hurt they can point to this and say "We warned them".

    I used to read these before any travel but stopped after the UK Government warned about the danger from polar bears in Edmonton Canada.
    KG, question: What would you have them do? Post nothing? Many governments post information about travel in other countries (their citizens might consider them remiss if they didn't). Due diligence suggests they post it.

  10. #11549
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    The regular warning from the US State Dept regarding travel in Phils. Take it how you will.

    ......
    This is typical CYA bullshit. The State department is just trying to cover themselves. If you go anywhere and are hurt they can point to this and say "We warned them".

    I used to read these before any travel but stopped after the UK Government warned about the danger from polar bears in Edmonton Canada.

    If you are not familiar with polar bears or Edmonton; the city is over 1500 kms away from the nearest polar bear habitat and is a metropolitan city which all large animals avoid for the obvious reasons.

    Take appropriate precautions and exercise common sense and most places can be safely visited anywhere in the world. (I spent 9 years in Afghanistan and am considering returning, safe place if you are careful.).

  11. #11548
    Quote Originally Posted by MrEnternational  [View Original Post]
    You are correct; I was not there. And technically an immigration officer and a customs officer are the same people these days. One day they can perform immigration duties and another day they can perform customs duties.
    Dude! You don't need to explain to us how customs and immigration works. Any of us from the US who have been abroad recently are familiar with the process, and the changes in the process, which aren't likely over yet.

    As for dogs, I've been flying in and out of DFW since the late 70's, worked there for a while in the 80's, and have never seen any kind of police dog at that airport. Never.

  12. #11547
    The regular warning from the US State Dept regarding travel in Phils. Take it how you will.

    Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

    Do not travel to:

    The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

    Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

    Reconsider travel to:

    Other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

    Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets / shopping malls, and local government facilities. The Philippine government has declared a "State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao. ".

    There is an outbreak of measles in the Philippines. Philippine authorities have reported deaths in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Davao. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional information on the outbreak at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices...s-philippines..

    Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

    If you decide to travel to the Philippines:

    Visit the CDC Travelers Health Page.

    Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.

    Avoid demonstrations.

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

    Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

    Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Philippines.

    USA Citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

    The Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea.

    Terrorist and armed groups kidnap USA Citizens on land and at sea for ransom.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to those areas.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

    Marawi City in Mindanao.

    The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. Civilians are at risk of death or injury due to conflict between remnants of terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in Mindanao as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

    Mindanao.

    The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. The Philippine government also maintains a state of emergency and greater police presence in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

    Terrorist and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting USA Citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions, and security forces.

    The USA Government has limited ability to provide emergency services to USA Citizens in Mindanao as USA Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

    Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

  13. #11546
    Quote Originally Posted by Eszpresszo  [View Original Post]
    No dude. It was customs. Immigration was greeting the foreign visitors in a different section of the building. Bear in mind dude, I was there, you weren't. And I didn't mention anything in my post about dogs. If you can't bother to read posts before you comment on them, and don't realize that you can't retroactively place yourself in some other person's experiences, you need to quit posting a while. The fact that you compulsively post replies to others posts all day long, speaks volumes about your credibility.
    You are correct; I was not there. And technically an immigration officer and a customs officer are the same people these days. One day they can perform immigration duties and another day they can perform customs duties.

    When you enter the USA, you are in what is called a Federal Inspection Station (FIS). At major airports in the USA, this consists of two parts (and I think it is the same for most countries): 1. Immigration. 2. Customs. Immigration was always the part before you pick your luggage up. You had to show them your passport and your customs declaration. They asked you if you were bringing anything back with you. Then they marked on the form whether you needed to go for secondary inspection or not. These days you scan the passport yourself and the computer primarily decides if you are to go to secondary. After that you hand your passport and form to the immigration officer who collects it, may ask questions, and sends you on your way.

    Customs was always after you pick your luggage up. As I was saying, they have done away with the customs part of the process, so that you are only in contact with the person that has traditionally been the immigration officer. Now it is more like Philippines where if you have nothing to declare you can just keep walking out after you get your bags instead of stopping to talk with a customs officer. Before, the customs officer never asked questions and he did not need to see your passport. All they had to do was read the designation that the immigration officer had written on your form in order to know whether to send you to secondary or not. These days, if you have to be sent to secondary then when you hand your form in, the immigration officer will call someone over to escort you there after they have gone with you to pick up your luggage.

    I apologize for attributing the dogs statement to you. It was contained in the statement that you quoted from Soapy.

  14. #11545
    Quote Originally Posted by Dg8787  [View Original Post]
    And thank God for the over caution and extra screening so you can live to tell about it.
    I'm good with just about whatever security they want to have.

    I oppose the security theater that actually exists.

  15. #11544
    Quote Originally Posted by SoapySmith  [View Original Post]
    ... The other difficulty is having to carry a bunch of currency from your home country. The ATM route that BD recommends is a good compromise.
    I have also used remittance services. Worldremit.com is what I used but there are others. Low fees, pick up any bank or LBC or similar place, transfer in immediate and I have never had any problems.

    I have actually beat the rate all in using this than the cash ATM withdraw method and limits are higher.

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