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[Updated] Travel Notice for Mindanao, Philippines

06 January 2020
The Philippine government declared Martial Law on the entire island of Mindanao on 23 May 2017 following clashes between government forces and a terrorist group in Marawi City. As of 1 January 2020, Martial Law on Mindanao has expired, but according to the Philippine authorities, Mindanao remains under a state of national emergency and security forces will remain in the area to maintain peace and stability.

Notwithstanding the lifting of Martial Law, travellers should note that there have been sporadic security incidents in the past year such as the January 2019 Jolo Cathedral bombings in Sulu; suicide bombing attacks in June, September and November 2019 in Sulu; as well as a grenade attack in Cotabato City and IED explosions in Libungan in December 2019.

 

Singaporeans travelling to or residing in the affected areas of Mindanao are strongly advised to take all necessary precautions for their personal safety, including monitoring the local news and heeding the instructions of the local authorities.  Singaporeans should remain vigilant and where possible, avoid crowded places, public gatherings, and areas where there are ongoing police or security operations.  Singaporeans should also purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.  Singaporeans are encouraged to e-register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/ so that they can be contacted should the need arise.  Singaporeans are also advised to stay in touch with their families and friends so that they know you are safe.  Those in need of urgent consular assistance should contact the Singapore Embassy in Manila or the 24-hour Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office.

 

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in the Philipppines

505 Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel: +63 2 8856 9922

Emergency Tel (after hours): +63 917 860 4740

Email: singemb_mnl@mfa.sg

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24-hour)

Tangling, Singapore 248163

Tel: +65 6379 8800; +65 6379 8855

Email: mfa_duty_officer@mfa.gov.sg

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Ministry of Health (MOH) Public Health Advisory

Please refer to the MOH COVID-19 website for updates on the latest precautionary measures implemented to further reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 to Singapore. These include travel advisories and further restrictions on travellers coming into Singapore. 


Singaporeans can visit the Philippines for up to 30 days without a visa. Tourists may apply for a Visa Waiver to extend their stay for an additional 29 days. This must be done at the Bureau of Immigration within 30 days of entry www.immigration.gov.ph/visa-requirements/non-immigrant-visa/temporary-visitor-visa/visa-waiver

As visa requirements often change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore for up-to-date information.

 

COVID-19

Since 19 March 2020, the Philippine Government has suspended all visa-free privileges and visa issuance. All visas issued prior to 19 March 2020 will be deemed cancelled, except for those already in the Philippines.

 

The following groups are exempted from the above measures:

 

a) Foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals;

 

b) Foreign Government and International Organisation officials accredited to the Philippines; and

 

c) Foreign crew members.

 

Foreign nationals, including Singaporeans, can depart the Philippines at any time during this period, subject to the availability of flights. Please note that each region and province could impose additional criteria for travel, including proof that the foreign national possesses a ticket within 24 hours of their scheduled flight, or a health certificate.

From 1 June 2020 onwards, various regions in the Philippines will be placed under either General Community Quarantine or Modified General Community Quarantine. The latest list of the regions and their quarantine leves, subject to further updates by the Philippine authorities, is as follows: 

General Community Quarantine

Modified Community Quarantine

Metro Manila

Davao City

Cagayan Valley

Central Luzon

Calabarzon

Pangasinan

Albay

 All other regions 

 

 

The full list of quarantine measures under each quarantine level is available at: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2020/05may/20200515-omnibus-guidelines-on-the-implementation-of-community-quarantine-in-the-philippines.pdf.

Even as quarantine restrictions are progressively lifted in the Philippines, considerable disruptions and restrictions on transport, restaurants, hotels, and social activities may remain for the time being as the Philippine government works with Local Government Units on the implementation guidelines of the various quarantine classifications. Singaporeans should continue to monitor the latest information regarding quarantine guidelines through the following websites:

Singaporeans should also closely monitor the news and official announcements by both the Singapore and Philippine governments regarding the COVID-19 situation.

Singaporeans who require consular assistance may also contact the Singapore Embassy in the Philippines at the contact number provided below. Singaporeans already in the Philippines, be it for long-term or short-term stays, are strongly encouraged to e-register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/ so that they can be contacted should the need arise. They should closely follow the Singapore Embassy in Manila’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SingaporeEmbassyManila) to receive the latest consular‑related news and updates. 

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in the Philippines

Address: 505 Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel: +63 2 8856 9922

Emergency Tel (after hours): +63 917 860 4740

Email: singemb_mnl@mfa.sg

URL: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/Manila

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24-hour)

Tanglin, Singapore 248163

Tel: +65 6379 8800; +65 6379 8855

Email: mfa_duty_officer@mfa.gov.sg

Embassy of Philippines in Singapore

Address: 20 Nassim Rd Singapore

Tel: +65 6737 3977

 

Driving in the Philippines: Foreigners may use their valid foreign driver’s license in the Philippines within 90 days of arrival.  Conversion of foreign driver’s license to Philippine driver’s license is also allowed.

Please refer to the following links for more info:

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/services/driverslicense/how-to-convert-a-foreign-license-to-a-philippine-license/

http://www.lto.gov.ph/frequently-asked-questions/license-permit

Government services scams: When dealing with Philippine government transactions, please refrain from going through third parties or shady deals if only to bypass certain procedures.  Though tedious, going through proper channels would avoid unnecessary trouble with the authorities.

ATM fraud: There have been a few cases where ATM machines have been tampered with skimming machines to retrieve information and make unnecessary purchases.  It would be best to withdraw from machines found in banks or busy areas.

Casino scams: Casino-entertainment complexes in Manila have been on the rise in the country’s bid to boost its share in the gaming industry, as gambling in casinos is considered legal in the Philippines.  While it has its own regulating body, avoid contacting loan sharks to support these vices.  Some patrons may end up highly at risk due to their inability to pay them back. 

Taxi scams: There are recommended precautions for taking cabs in the Manila:

1.  Look for Taxi Stands

2.  Keep Your Belongings with You

3.  Only Use Easily Identifiable Taxis

4.  Stick with Metered Taxis

5.  Check for Door Handles

6.  Be Wary of Shared Cabs

7.  Know Emergency Contact Numbers

8.  Know Where You’re Going

9.  Avoid Traveling Alone

10. Advise Friends & Family of your Cab Details

11. Pay While in the Cab using Small Peso Notes / Exact Amount

12. Look Behind You Before Opening the Door

 

Drug offences including the importation and possession of recreational drugs are punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty. 

Typhoons entering the Philippines could easily hit more than 10 a year.  The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), had warned the public that more typhoons are possible in the last quarter of the year due to La Nina.  Travellers should follow PAGASA’s Tweets or Facebook page for weather advisories. 

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Manila. In the past year, 215 earthquakes (M1.5 or greater) have been tracked. Most have occurred to the south of Metro Manila.

Overseas Travel – Be Informed & Be Safe [13 November 2019]

In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take the necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.

Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.

In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed the advice of the local authorities. 

When participating in outdoor leisure activities overseas, Singaporeans should be mindful that certain sporting activities, especially in open seas, may carry risks. Besides ensuring that one has the physical competencies and appropriate condition to undertake the activity, every effort should be made to ascertain if the trip organiser or guide is reliable and competent, and that appropriate safety and contingency plans are in place. When in doubt, Singaporeans should consult the relevant professional bodies or sporting associations for specific advice.

For those planning to travel, here are some tips:

Before travelling

·  Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.

·  Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.

·  Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.

·  eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.

 

While travelling

·  Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.

·  Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.

·  Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, social unrests or terror attacks.

·  Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.

In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.

 

Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]

There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas.  These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance.  The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.

MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously.  Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance.  If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request.  It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc.  Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails.  Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately.  Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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