Great. the United States issues yet another travel warning on the Philippines. Whatever. Thanks for making my job of highlighting the country's charms a hell of a lot more difficult.And as expected, the U.S. State Department once again shows their penchant for rash generalizations through phrases like: "U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security" (the ENTIRE country? ALL 7,107 islands? Including Greenbelt?) and "While travelers may encounter such threats anywhere in the Philippines..." (ANYWHERE? C'mon, give me a break!). Moreover, they also fail to illustrate to the average geography-challenged American the archipelagic nature of the country and also which areas ARE safe to visit in the Philippines (or in any of the countries posted on their travel warnings page for that matter). And this I find completely unfair.So in light of this, I too shall post my own travel warning for the United States. So there. Bite me, Uncle Sam. You ain't exactly Disneyland either.
April 27, 2007
This Travel Warning updates information on the security situation and reminds Filipinos of the risks of travel in the United States. This Travel Warning supersedes any previous Travel Warning issued for the United States.
Philippine citizens contemplating travel to the United States should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security while there, including those due to terrorism, racism, religious intolerance, and random acts of violence. While travelers may encounter such threats anywhere in the United States, cities
within the states of New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, and Missouri
are of particular concern. Travelers should also exercise extreme caution in both northern New York City
and eastern Los Angeles and avoid travel to these areas unless absolutely necessary.
Relaxed gun control laws and the easy acquisition of arms in practically every populated area within the United States add to the risks in traveling through the country. Schoolgrounds, universities, and malls are to be particulary avoided. Within days last April 2007, a shootout at a college campus
in the state of Virginia resulted in the deaths of over 32 people, while another shootout inside a shopping center
in the state of Kansas resulted in the deaths of another 3. While these attacks have not targeted Filipinos or Filipinos in recent years, such incidents could threaten Filipino citizens engaged in such activities as going to class or buying groceries. Travelers should therefore remain vigilant and avoid congregating in public areas.
Organized armed terrorist groups called "steet gangs" operate in many urbanized areas in the United States. Two of the most popular gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, have large memberships in the cities of Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. Aside from the Crips and the Bloods, other armed gangs like the Surenos XII, Bulldogs F14, Hip Sin, and On Leong have also been known to hold entire neighborhoods under their armed control. In total, the memberships of these groups number over half a million nationwide
, with over 300,000 in the state of California alone. In the state of Arizona, there were 17 gang related
deaths last year. In some areas of the United States, especially in urbanized areas where the aforementioned terrorist groups have been known to operate, visitors should avoid travel at night. Philippine government employees must also seek special permission for travelling to these areas. When traveling through these areas, Philippine official travelers should attempt to lower their profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.
Racially motivated violent incidents have also been known to occur in several parts of the United States, with particular concentration on the southern areas of the country where armed "rednecks" have been known to operate for generations. Many Filipinos who reside in or visit these aforementioned areas face serious threats. The Philippine government recommends that citizens visiting the south should travel with their own security force, avoid an obvious presence, or both. Once again, while Filipinos have not been targeted in several years, these elements could threaten Philippine citizens engaged in business or property management activities, and it is reported that they often demand “to see your purty little lips.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly encourages Filipinos in the United States to register with the Consular Section of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. or through the Philippine government's foreign affairs website (http://www.dfa.gov.ph/
). The Philippine Embassy is located at 1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036
For information on general crime and security issues in the United States, Philippine citizens should consult Google.