THE military called on all foreigners wanting to visit Mindanao to properly coordinate with authorities for their safety and security.

The advisory came in light of the latest travel advisory of the United States of America on their citizens not to travel to Mindanao.

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in a press statement, said the directive is to prevent foreigners from becoming victims of rebel atrocities especially that the May 2010 election is fast approaching.

The State Department warned US citizens of the risks of travel to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. It even urged travelers to exercise extreme caution if traveling there.

"Regional terrorist groups have carried out bombings resulting in injuries and death. Since August 2008, there have been sporadic clashes between lawless groups and the Philippine Armed Forces in the Mindanao provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, as well as the Sulu Archipelago. Kidnap-for-ransom gangs are active and have targeted foreigners. US Government employees must seek special permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. Travelers to these areas should remain vigilant and avoid congregating in public areas. Some foreigners who reside in or visit Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago hire their own security," the advisory read.

The US Department strongly encouraged US citizens in the Philippines to register with the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Manila. (BOT)