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How Safe is Living Here for Expats

Safety in the Philippines: Update Wed., Feb 23, 2005.

Statement from United States Ambassador to Manila Francis Ricciardone, The man who knows with the responsibility of the safety of every US Citizen here in the Philippines.

Although those with many years of experience often assure first- timers that travel to and in the Philippines is not dangerous, the US State Department continually re-issues years-old advisories that make the Philippines seem only slightly less dangerous than Iraq. Interesting new report here as to what the US Ambassador to the Philippines, Francis Ricciardone said in the Manila Bulletin yesterday:


"(Ricciardone) brushed aside the perceived terrorist threats in the Philippines after the simultaneous terrorist bombings in three cities in the Philippines last week.

Instead, Ricciardone has urged his father, Francis Sr., to take a tour of the Philippines, and even invited the Filipino public for a tour of the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

"We don't worry about (the security of American forces or of the Americans visiting this country). We advise Americans it's a fine place to visit, we take (Philippine National Police chief) Director General Edgar Aglipay's words to Filipinos as applying to us - know what you're doing, know where you go, pay attention - and it's a fine place to be if you do that"

It was interesting to learn a month or so ago that more than 75% of the US citizen embassy staff has applied to extend their overseas tours in Manila guess they aren't so concerned about the danger either. As far as street crime is concerned, Cebu City is a lot safer generally than most places I have lived in the United States. You can walk the streets at 2 a.m. and have no problems in almost all parts of the city, whether you are male or female. Note, I said "almost." I have not seen any vandalism in eleven years here. Graffiti is nowhere in sight. In every big city there are pickpockets and snatchers. Beware of them and don't leave your bags unattended in any country, especially a developing one. Tourist who stand out, are always targets. The only way to be perfectly safe is, don't travel, stay at home and keep your doors locked. Even then you may get hit by lightening.

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