Transnational crime refers to certain criminal phenomena transcending international borders, transgressing the laws of several states, or having an impact on another country. Organized crime in the Philippines can be linked to certain families or barkadas (groups) who perpetrate crimes ranging from extortion, sale of illegal narcotics and loan sharking to robbery, kidnapping, and murder-for-hire. Voters will elect half of the Senate (the upper house) and all of the House of Representatives (the lower house). The mid-term national and local election period runs from January to June 2019. In southern Mindanao, KFR injects significant amounts of money into the local economy, which could suggest tacit support by the local populace. Exercise caution while traveling by inter-island ferry. Trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine remains the foremost drug-related problem, followed by marijuana and, to a lesser extent, cocaine and MDMA/ecstasy. During the past two years, typhoons and heavy rains repeatedly caused extensive damage and landslides, resulting in loss of life, homes, and electrical power in various regions. The Philippine government has instituted martial law throughout the Mindanao region. On December 12, 2018, the Philippines Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao through the end of 2019. Certain areas, including Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and the Sulu Sea, represent a higher security risk. The safest way to travel using taxis is to ask a hotel, restaurant, or business establishment to call a reliable taxi service. Voters will elect half of the Senate (the upper house) and all of the House of Representatives (the lower house). Today, senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges in Central America against more than 700 members of transnational criminal organizations, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, which … The Philippines is categorized as a moderate risk location for Zika virus transmission. In some cases, public and private hospitals have withheld lifesaving medicines and treatment until payment is received. In 2017 and 2018, all foreign victims of KFR were from other countries in Asia, and no Westerners were reportedly taken hostage. The Philippines continues to work with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other international partners to ensure that the airport meets international standards. Do not travel to the Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, or to Marawi City in Mindanao. In most urban areas, traffic is dense, chaotic, and unpredictable. The mid-term national and local election period runs from January to June 2019. The PNP is a capable force, but limited in its ability to respond to and assist victims of crime and traffic accidents due to a lack of response vehicles, radios, and other essential equipment. Elements within the two main insurgent groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), continue to pose a security threat. Reconsider travel to other areas of Mindanao. On December 12, 2018, the Philippines Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao through the end of 2019. U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in the Philippines are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). PNP officers intercept most of the protest groups. Authorities deactivated another suspected IED found in a subsequent search of the area. 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