By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
The Philippine embassy in France on Monday issued a travel advisory, reminding Filipinos traveling to Paris to be wary of spate of break-ins, robberies, and pickpocketing incidence in the city.
The advisory, coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), also noted “the string of terror incidents in the past three years,” with the latest on May 12, 2018, that “require the extra vigilance of Filipinos traveling in Paris.”
Filipinos are requested to follow the list of safety guidelines when traveling to France:
1. Always secure personal belongings such as bags, wallets, phones and other personal items when visiting tourist spots, walking around, and riding public transportations.
2. Be wary of pickpockets. They are rampant at metro stations, trains, and even in shopping areas.
3. Keep passport and identity card in separate areas of your bag, so as to lessen the risk of losing both identity documents.
4. Theft may also occur in hotels and apartments. Make sure that your briefcases, bags and other valuables are secure. Be wary of the so-called “hotel rats,” scam artists who pretend to be hotel guests or tourists and who can swipe baggage in hotel lobbies, or book rooms with fake names and break-in rooms to steal valuables.
5. Do not carry a lot of cash. Most stores accept cards. Should you use your card, cover your hand discreetly when typing the pin.
6. Keep your bags out of sight when inside the vehicles. Robberies may sometimes occur during traffic jams.
7. Be alert and vigilant when visiting different areas in France. Make sure to follow the instructions of police and military personnel in case of any incident.
8. Be updated with the news. Refrain from going to areas that are declared to be unsafe or that have terrorism threat.
In case an urgent assistance is needed, Filipinos may call the embassy via their 24/7 emergency hotline at +33 6 20 59 25 15.
Filipinos seeking help may also visit the embassy at 45 Rue de Ranelagh, 4 Hameau de Boulainvilliers, 75016 Paris, France or send them a message at +33 1 44 14 57 00 or via their email address firstname.lastname@example.org (PNA)