Filipinos in Myanmar urged to remain calm and stay at home

Marje Pelayo   •   February 2, 2021   •   346

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos in Myanmar are urged to “remain calm” and stay inside their homes after the military took over the country in an apparent coup.

Malacañang said the Philippine government stands ready for a possible repatriation of Filipinos in its Southeast Asian neighbor.

In relation to the unrest, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the situation in Yangon and Mandalay seems stable though there are reports of mobile service interruptions and ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The Philippine Embassy in Myanmar encouraged all Filipinos in the country to register with the Embassy and make sure to be included in the Embassy township coordination group.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government reiterated that its priority is to protect the interest and well-being of Filipinos in the country.

“Gumagalaw po ngayon ang ating embahada sa Myanmar para magbigay ng tulong sa lahat ng mga Pilipino. Kung gusto pong umuwi ng ilang mga Pilipino, gagawan po natin ng paraan na sila’y makauwi. Kung gusto po nila ng temporary shelter diyan sa ating Embassy, maghahanap po tayo ng mga paraan. Pinag-iingat nga po natin ang lahat ng mga kababayan natin diyan sa Myanmar,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior government officials were detained by military forces over allegations of fraud in the November 8 elections.

After only a decade of democracy, Myanmar now returns under military rule, a renewal of the past 49-year of dictatorship. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

DFA raises alert level 2 for Filipinos in Myanmar

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday raised the alert level for Filipinos in Myanmar amid the political unrest in the country.

“In view of the developing critical situation in Myanmar, the Department of Foreign Affairs has raised the alert level for Myanmar to Alert Level 2 as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the remaining 1,273 Filipinos there,” the DFA said in a statement.

The raising of alert level status entails “restriction of non-essential movements, avoiding of places of protest, and preparation for possible evacuation,” the department said.

“Only returning workers with existing contracts shall be allowed to travel to Myanmar,” it added.

The DFA also reiterated its advice to Filipinos in Myanmar to exercise due caution, and monitor developments through reputable sources.

Filipinos in Myanmar are also urged to avoid places of protests, and to observe the guidance of the Philippine Embassy in Yangon.

The military took over the civilian government in Myanmar, detaining leaders including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi last February 1 over allegations of election fraud.

The armed forces staged the coup in support of the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud following a general election which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide. Protests have since erupted in parts of the country against the military takeover.

Meanwhile, the DFA reported that a total of 55 Filipinos from Myanmar arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

They were flown home by a Myanmar National Airlines Flight arranged since January 15, the department said.

The COVID-19 relief flight was facilitated through the Philippine Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar and its Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs.

“Most overseas Filipinos who joined the flight were self-paying passengers, while two repatriates were directly assisted by the Philippine government by shouldering their overstaying fees and tickets,” the DFA said.

Last February 15, the DFA also repatriated 139 Filipinos from Myanmar via a chartered flight.

“The DFA through its network of 94 Philippine Embassies and Consulates General across the globe is always ready to assist our overseas Filipinos who wish to return to the Philippines due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in their host countries,” DFA Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said.

UN warns against harsh treatment of protesters in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 16, 2021

The United Nations (UN) has warned Myanmar’s military for its harsh treatment of protesters, saying that the “world is watching closely.”

In a press briefing, UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener has called on the Myanmar military to refrain from using violence and respect human rights.

“The right of peaceful assembly must fully be respected, and that demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals. She has conveyed to the Myanmar military that the world is watching closely, and any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences,” she said.

Protests across Myanmar have grown after the military takeover on February 1 where top political leaders were arrested.

Several of the high officials detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.  

There are also reports that the military use excessive force against the demonstrators.

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), as of February 12, more than 350 political and state officials, activists, and civil society members have been taken into custody. Several members of the media, monks, and students were also detained

“Several face criminal charges on dubious grounds, and most have received no form of due process or permitted legal representation, family visitations or communication,” according to the UN.

Burgener also reiterated UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s statement and called for a visit to Myanmar under agreeable conditions. -AAC

Locsin calls for restoration of ‘status quo ante’ in Myanmar amid military takeover

Marje Pelayo   •   February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin on Tuesday (February 9) called for the “the complete restoration of the status quo ante” in Myanmar following military take over and detention of democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a tweet, Locsin said “The Philippines has been supportive of Myanmar’s progress towards a fuller democracy.” 

“The realization of this democratic process can only be achieved through the complete restoration of the-status quo ante,” he added.

Police have responded against escalating violence in protests against the  military takeover of the government and the detention of the deposed civilian leader and other elected lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the DFA said it is preparing for the repatriation of 252 Filipinos who have signified interest to leave Myanmar.

Suu Kyi was arrested along with other democratically-elected lawmakers in a pre-dawn raid on February 1 by Myanmar military.


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