- More policemen and military personnel deployed;
- More checkpoints set up around Metro Manila; and
- More curfews.
Also, countries such as Singapore, Canada, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. have issued warnings advising their citizens to practice "extreme caution" when travelling within the Philippines. In light of this recent turn of events, here's what you need to remember to stay safe within the country.
Avoid High-Risk Areas
Since the explosion occurred in Davao City, you'll want to avoid going there for now. You'll also want to avoid places that tend to attract a large number of people, such as malls, train stations and other commercial centers. If it's not possible to avoid these places for one reason or another, skip to the steps below.
Watch Out for Suspicious Activity
Be on the lookout for suspicious people or events. Do you see anyone acting strangely? Is there anyone who looks like they're:
- Scouring the area for a safe place to set off an explosive?
- Leaving their bags behind for no apparent reason?
- Doing something they shouldn't?
If it's a "Yes" to any of these questions, report it to the nearest security personnel ASAP. Avoid confronting the suspicious people, or playing the hero. Tempting as it is to do so, it's better to let the experts handle the situation.
Know Where You Can Run to Safety
Speaking of security personnel, always be where they are. (Hint: They're usually close to the entrances and exits.) Find out where the fire exits are, as well as other places where you can escape. Trace your routes from where you are, to where those exits are, so you can get to safety as quickly as possible.
Also, find out where the nearest police station/fire station/hospital is. Keep as many emergency numbers in your phone as you can. Put these numbers on speed dial. The faster you can contact them, the better.
Know What to Do During a Fire/Explosion
First things first: Do not panic. Panic will not only cloud your mind, but also speed up your breathing and heart rate, making you more susceptible to inhaling toxic fumes from fire.
If there are regular fire/earthquake drills in your area, participate in them. Print out online articles on what to do when trapped in a fire, or what to do when you're trapped in a collapsed building. Read as much as you can about first-aid, and keep a first-aid kit handy at all times.
Know What to Do During a Hostage Situation
In case you're captured or taken hostage by terrorists, keep these tips in mind.
- Stay calm. That's easier said than done, but it's important not to let your emotions get the better of your judgment.
- Observe your surroundings and your captors. If they're wearing masks to conceal their faces, take note of other identifying features like height, build, clothing, type of weapon, etc.
- Do not engage your captors. You can ask them for medicine if you're ill, but otherwise, speak only when you're spoken to.
- As soon as you hear signs of a shootout, drop to the ground. Stay as flat as you can to avoid being hit by bullets.
Cooperate With the Police and Military
Granted, it's inconvenient to let these people search your bags more thoroughly than before. But if you don't want any trouble over the long run, it's best not to argue with the police and military — especially since they seem to have more power under the current administration.
Although it's not yet "martial law," curfews might be imposed in places that didn't have them before. If you don't want to suffer the indignity of getting carted off by police, go home as soon as you can.
Keep Your Radio Handy
If you have a smartphone, chances are it has a radio, so make the most of it. Find a quiet, private place, and crank up the radio for the latest news on curfews, bombing incidents and others related to the state of lawlessness. It might be lifted sometime soon, or not.
Keep Other Safety Tips in Mind
Of course, there's always a chance that unscrupulous people will take advantage of the current situation. So brush up on the basics of staying safe in the Philippines, practice them as often as you can and use your best judgment to decide if a course of action is best. For now, be very careful when travelling within the Philippines, and let us know what you think about these tips in the comments!