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Pinoys in Thailand told to prepare for possible evacuation as political crisis worsens

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MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Philippines on Tuesday raised its crisis alert in Thailand and advised Filipinos there to prepare for possible evacuation if necessary after the Thai military declared a nationwide martial law.

Crisis Alert 2 was raised by Manila, which means Filipinos must refrain from undertaking non-essential movements, avoid public places and prepare for evacuation if needed, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told a press briefing.

There is no travel ban to Thailand, Jose said, but unnecessary travel is discouraged.

Only those Filipinos with existing contracts to Thailand will be allowed to return there for work.

There are between 10,000 to 15,000 Filipino workers in Thailand.

“The Philippine embassy in Bangkok has advised Filipinos to exercise extreme caution and vigilance, avoid travelling to rally sites and gatherings and to refrain from taking part in protests,” he said.

Thailand’s military declared a nationwide martial law on Tuesday to restore order in the troubled Southeast Asian nation, which is functioning without a proper government since its Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers were dismissed by the court on May for abuse of power.

Thailand has been besieged by violent pro-Thaksin and anti-government protesters since November last year and dozens have been killed.

So far, Filipinos there have yet to feel the effects of the martial law, said Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Jocelyn Garcia in an interview on “Balitanghali” on Tuesday.

“Wala po kaming nakitang kakaiba. Dati na hong may military presence. Ngayon lang mas prominente sila, siguro dun sa lugar na merong mga demonstrators,” she said.

No Filipinos have been reported hurt in the ongoing turmoil.

“Wala naman ho kaming naririnig na nangyayari sa kanila, o naapektuhan sila. In the last six months, wala naman hong nasaktang Pilipino,” said Garcia.

Meanwhile, Jose said a Philippine contingency plan is in place and a DFA team is ready to be dispatched to Thailand as soon as possible.

The Philippines, Jose said, is closely monitoring the political developments in Thailand and called for an early return to normalcy.

Jose said the Philippines supports a peaceful resolution of the conflict, continued dialogue and observance of democratic principles and rule of law. (MNS

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