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State Department reissues terrorism travel warning for Philippines

By Star-Advertiser news services

LAST UPDATED: 2:58 p.m. HST, Jan 7, 2012

The U.S. warned its citizens of the risk of “terrorist activity” in the Philippines, saying attacks could occur in any area of the country, including Manila.

The U.S. embassy in Manila issued the updated travel warning in a statement posted on its website today.

"While most of the recent incidents of terror have occurred on the island of Mindanao and in the Sulu Archipelago, U.S. Citizens are reminded that terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur in any area of the country including Manila,” the statement said, reiterating a travel warning issued in June. “Public gathering places may be targeted, including (but not limited to) airports, shopping malls, conference centers and other public venues.”

The warning comes as the Philippines introduced a new "It's more fun in the Philippines" campaign that highlighting the ebullient nature of Filipinos in an effort to increase tourism.

“What differentiates the Philippines from other offerings is the Filipino,” said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez

The campaign introduced through social media and other outlets Friday aims to draw 4.2 million tourists this year and 10 million by 2016 from only 3.7 million last year.

The Philippines boasts of beautiful beaches and diving, English-speaking people and cheap shopping. But it lacks infrastructure. Visitors are also deterred by communist and Muslim insurgencies and bombings and kidnappings by al-Qaida-linked extremists in the south.

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