-- DFA Raises Alert Level for Bangkok ~ Travel and Immigration 101

Friday, January 24, 2014

DFA Raises Alert Level for Bangkok

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised yesterday the alert level for Bangkok and neighboring provinces placed under a 60-day state of emergency amid the political unrest there.
From alert level 1 or precautionary phase, the DFA raised it to 2 or restriction phase.

This means Filipinos in Thailand should restrict non-essential movement, avoid public places and prepare for evacuation.

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 DFA said the situation remains fluid and volatile in Bangkok, particularly in anti-government protest areas, in spite of efforts to maintain a state of normalcy.

The Philippine embassy in Bangkok had advised Filipinos with essential travel plans and those residing in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand to avoid rally sites and large gatherings and refrain from taking part in the protest or other political activities.

Filipinos are also advised to exercise extreme caution and vigilance and monitor developments.

The embassy said it is ready to extend assistance to all Filipinos in Thailand.

Filipinos were also cautioned by the embassy against wearing red or yellow shirts lest they be mistaken for government or anti-government parties.

“Participating and/or showing support in any form to any of the parties is strongly discouraged. For information, the red and yellow colors are closely identified with some of the parties involved,” the embassy said.

Records at the Commission on Filipinos Overseas showed there are 16,303 permanent, temporary and irregular Filipinos in Thailand as of December 2012.

Meanwhile, MalacaƱang gave assurance the DFA would investigate alleged abuses by Malaysian authorities against Filipinos working there.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said justice must be served to those who were beaten up and subjected to other forms of harassment in the crackdown in Malaysia.

He said the Philippines is treating foreigners well and it is expected that Filipinos would enjoy the same treatment elsewhere.

Reports said Malaysian authorities began a crackdown on illegal migrant workers, particularly those from Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.

Malaysian Interior Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying that those found without valid documents would be deported within seven days.

Coloma said the Philippines and Malaysia have a long history of friendship and cooperation, adding that Malaysian authorities are expected to pay special attention to the plight of Filipino workers.

He said the DFA should also give details of the alleged harassment and abuses reportedly committed against Filipino workers.

In Kota Kinabalu, architect Florito Rosales said he was among 311 Filipino workers rounded up by Malaysian authorities on Jan. 21.

Radio reporter Florante Rosales said his brother told him that Filipinos were thrown in overcrowded jails, beaten and forced to admit they were illegal workers.


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