People gather on a tourist boardwalk in Belize City. Jose Cabezas/REUTERS
PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued an advisory to overseas Filipino workers in Belize, a country in Central America, following the recent declaration of a state of emergency due to increasing criminal and gang activities.
Filipino Ambassador to Mexico Demetrio Tuason said the declaration was due to six murders recorded between August 31 to September 1.
The DFA said the measure was intended to ensure the safety of the public during Belize’s National Day celebration this month.
The advisory states that: “Under the state of emergency, authorities are authorized to incarcerate suspects for 30 days and suspected or known members of gangs may be detained for up to seven days without specific charges.”
The DFA, citing Philippine Honorary Consul in Belize Mikhal Arguelles, said the situation in Belize City is “calm and peaceful,” except in the two south side communities along George and Banak Streets, where the violence is happening.
There were no Filipinos affected by the violence, so far, but the Embassy asked all 97 Filipinos in Belize to exercise caution at all times. – UNTV News and Rescue