U.S. issues travel warning to citizens heading to PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The United States warned its citizens on Thursday (April 21) to avoid traveling to the southern Philippines, particularly in the Sulu Archipelago and through the Southern Sulu Sea.

The U.S. government cited continuing terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings in the area.

The travel warning is posted on the U.S. Department of State's official website.

Just this April, a series of abductions of foreigners were reported. Around 14 Indonesians and four Malaysians have been kidnapped in recent weeks by groups with suspected links to the Abu Sayyaf.

These incidents have also prompted the Indonesian government to call for joint patrols with the Philippines and Malaysia in the southern Philippines.

Meanwhile, the military respects the travel warning in connection with the emerging security situation in the Sulu Archipelago.

"Ito ay karapatan ng anumang sovereign nation na magbigay ng advisory sa kanilang mga mamamayan na bumibyahe sa mga lugar base po sa mga pangyayari na nakikita nila na maaaring maging hadlang sa maayos at mapayapang pangangalakal o pag-travel ng kanilang mamamayan," said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman BGen. Restituto Padilla.