MANILA, Jan 23 (Mabuhay) – The Philippines has called on Filipinos in Thailand to restrict their movements and prepare for possible evacuation amid intensified anti-government demonstrations there.
Manila raised Alert Level 2 over Thailand as the 60-day state of emergency was enforced on Wednesday by the Thai government to quell weeks-long protests aimed at pressuring elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down in favor of an unelected council.
“Alert Level 2 is issued when there are real threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbance or external threat,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday in a statement.
Under Alert Level 2, the DFA said “Filipinos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places and prepare for evacuation.”
“While there has been an effort to maintain a state of normalcy in the Thai capital, the situation remains fluid and volatile particularly in anti-government protest areas,” it said.
Filipinos with essential travel plans to Thailand and those residing in capital Bangkok—the site of mass actions – and other parts of the country were advised to avoid protest sites and large gatherings.
They were also cautioned against taking part in the protest or other political activities.
“Everyone is advised to continue exercising extreme caution and vigilance and to closely monitor developments,” the DFA said.
“The Philippine Embassy is ready to extend necessary assistance to all Filipino nationals in Thailand.”
On Tuesday, the Thai government imposed a 60-day state of emergency in the capital and surrounding provinces in efforts to restrain the public unrest.
Anti-government protestors have been clamoring for the resignation of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is accused of being politically influenced by her brother, exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Due to the mounting pressure, Shinawatra set a snap elections scheduled on February 2.
There were an estimated 16,000 Filipinos in Thailand based on the 2012 data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. (MNS)