Security Message for U.S. Citizens
U.S. Embassy, Manila,
December 16, 2013
THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES
IS TRANSMITTING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO U.S. CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES. PLEASE
DISSEMINATE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL U.S.
CITIZENS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NEIGHBORHOOD. THANK YOU.
The Embassy wishes to remind U.S. citizens
that we are in the Christmas holiday season which is a prime time for
pickpockets and thieves. U.S. citizens in the Philippines should remain aware
that while you may become a victim simply because you find yourself in the wrong
place at the wrong time, foreigners may also be targeted because they are
perceived to be affluent. The Embassy receives regular reports of U.S. citizens
who have been the victims of both violent crime and crimes against property,
such as theft, burglary and robbery.
Please remain vigilant and maintain an
appropriate level of personal security. We offer the following suggestions to
help reduce your odds of becoming a victim of crime:
- Maintain a low profile and do not bring undue
attention to yourself. Do not
display lavish amounts of jewelry.
- Always carry some type
- Do not carry around
large amounts of money. Take with you only what you will require for the
moment and keep it in the front pocket of your pants or skirt. A good rule
of thumb: Do not take more with you than you can afford to lose.
- If you carry a purse,
consider carrying it across your body, with bag in front of you. Purses
with long straps may be grabbed off your shoulder (and sometimes the
bearer is hurt).
- Pay attention to your
surroundings, realizing that crime can occur anywhere, anytime. Be
cautious about traveling after dark, especially alone or in unfamiliar
areas. There is always safety in numbers. Know where you are going.
- If you notice suspicious
individuals approaching you, make an attempt to avoid them. In the event
they continue to follow or harass you, walk to the nearest establishment
and seek assistance from the security guard or door escort. Pickpocket
gangs often appear to be homeless and begin by demanding money. They will
sometimes aggressively follow the victims until they eventually swarm
around them and begin to surreptitiously grab personal items from the
victims, such as wallets and cell phones.
- Be aware that public
transit like Jeepneys, Light Rail Transport (LRT) and the Metro Rail
Transit (MRT) systems are prime venues for pickpockets.
- Do not consume excessive alcoholic beverages,
which could make you an easy target.
VEHICLE SECURITY - CAR THEFTS
- Drive defensively at
- ALWAYS drive with the
windows rolled up and the doors locked.
- Use a supplemental
anti-theft device that locks either the steering wheel or the gearshift.
These are not fail-safe, but they require valuable time and effort on the part
of the perpetrator.
- DO NOT park in
deserted or isolated areas. At night, park in well-lighted areas. Take
advantage of guarded paid parking.
- Do not leave personal
items openly displayed in the car—you are inviting a smash-and-run thief
to remove them.
- Always maintain copies
of your driver’s license and vehicle registration in your vehicle. Avoid
surrendering the original document to police.
- If you are involved in an accident, attempt to
summon police or medical assistance, if necessary. Try to remain calm.
Control the keys to your residence. A
thief with a key has a much easier time.
Anytime you leave your residence, make
sure that all doors and windows are secured.
During the day, keep the doors locked,
even though you and your domestic help may be inside the house.
Know visitors or other individuals, such
as repair men, who may ask to enter your home.
Secure valuables and important personal
documents. Do not leave them lying around.
During extended periods of absence,
consider asking a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your residence.
If you are home during a burglary, DO NOT
confront the perpetrators. They may very well be armed. Instead, either flee or
lock yourself in a secure room and call the police.
If your residence has an alarm, make sure
you use it.
· If you live on a residential compound or in an
apartment building, know your area and be aware of the security and safety
rules, especially rules for visitor and vehicle access.
- If you see a
suspicious object or package, do not disturb it. Immediately notify an
appropriate official, such as a police officer or building security staff,
and leave the area.
- If you are in the vicinity when a security threat
occurs, leave the area immediately. Do not approach the scene of a bombing
or remain in the area.
Demonstrations in the Philippines are
generally peaceful. However, there is
always the risk that public demonstrations could get out of control, which
could pose a risk to those in the vicinity. Accordingly, we recommend that U.S. citizens
always avoid demonstrations or protests. If you find yourself in such a
situation, immediately leave the area.
The Embassy recommends carrying a means of
communications at all times. If you feel that you are in danger, seek
assistance from security personnel or the local authorities. Holidays are a
joyful time, and basic security awareness and precautions can decrease the
likelihood of an unfortunate occurrence spoiling your holidays.
The Department of State offers tips for travelers
abroad on our main website.
The Embassy is located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines
and is open 0730-1600, Monday through Friday. The Embassy's main
telephone number is (632) 301-2000. U.S. citizens needing to speak to
the Embassy can dial this number and ask to be connected to the American
Citizen Services (ACS) unit or with the Embassy Duty Officer (for calls outside
of normal business hours). You can also contact the ACS unit through
email at ACSInfoManila@state.gov or through the Embassy
Facebook page. Please
visit our website for information on all services offered by the ACS unit.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in the Philippines
enroll in the Department
of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP
enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate
to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll
directly with the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where
you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning
for the Philippines, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read
the Country Specific Information for the Philippines. For
additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for
up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call
1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States
or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal
holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to
have travel information at your fingertips.