The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday assured Filipinos working or studying in Bangkok that the Philippine Embassy in Thailand will remain open to serve them despite the clashes between the Thai military and ‘Red Shirt’ protesters in the capital city of Bangkok.
DFA spokesman J. Eduardo Malaya said there are no plans to close the embassy due to the increasing violence in central Bangkok, adding that public service will continue for the benefit of the Filipinos in Thailand.
Some embassies such as those of the US and Australia had been temporarily closed due to the increased violence near their area.
“The Philippine Consulate in Thailand is located along SukhumvitRoad, which is some appreciable distance from the commercial business district, where the clashes are taking place,” Malaya said.
He stressed that no Filipino has been affected in the latest incidence of violence which started last week.
“Philippine Ambassador (to Thailand)Antonio Rodriguez reported to the DFA that embassy officers and staff and the members of their family are safe, and that the embassy has not received any report on Filipinos hurt during the latest disturbances,” Malaya said.
Malaya, however, reiterated that the DFA had re-issued a travel advisory to Thailand to prevent any Filipino from getting hurt in the clash.
“The DFA re-issued last Saturday (May 15) a travel advisory strongly urging Filipinos not to proceed with non-essential travel to Bangkok in view of increased incidents of violence, and for those who are already there, to avoid the areas where anti-government protests and clashes are taking place. It’s not safe to visit Bangkok for sight-seeing at this time,” Malaya said.
News reports revealed that at least 39 were killed and 279 others were wounded in the latest clash between Thai military and protesters that started last Thursday as gunfire ensued from both parties, with the protesters using homemade weapons.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo has issued a recall order on all political ambassadors effective June 30.
Based on documents obtained by the Manila Bulletin, Romulo issued Assignment Order 207-10, which stated that “effective June 30, 2010, the following Ambassadors are hereby recalled to the Home Office.”
According to a high-ranking diplomatic source, the next ranking officer in their respective posts shall act as the Charge d’ Affaires until the assumption of office of the new ambassador when the political ambassadors vacate their posts come June 30, 2010.
The source added that career ambassadors are not affected by the recall as they have a six-year tour of duty in their respective posts.
It will be recalled that Romulo himself had said he will focus on being the DFA Secretary until June 30.
“I have only focused up to June 30. All non-career [ambassadors] and political appointees are co-terminus with the President, therefore, they cease to hold office by June 30,” he said. “There are many career officers who can take over.”