MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday called on the more than 5,000 Filipinos in Vietnam to take precautions amid violent anti-China protests in the Southeast Asian nation.
DFA Spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi has also appealed to Vietnamese companies employing Filipino workers to ensure their safety. There are at least 5,500 Filipinos, mostly professional workers, in Vietnam.
“The Vietnamese government is taking steps to control the situation and our embassy is asking Filipinos to take precautions,” Jose said at a press briefing.
Despite the violence, Jose said the Philippine government is not inclined to ban travel of Filipinos to Vietnam or suspend the deployment of workers there.
China’s installation of an oil rig in the Paracels – a disputed territory it claims jointly with Vietnam – has provoked massive attacks by Vietnamese protesters on factories they believe are Chinese-owned. At least 21 people have been killed.
Vietnam has accused China of encroaching in Vietnamese territory and demanded China to remove the rig. It was rejected by China, saying the Paracels is part of Chinese territory.
The Philippines is also accusing China of intruding in its waters, harassing Filipino fishermen and disrupting oil exploration activities in its areas.
China says it has disputable sovereignty over 90 percent of the South China Sea. The Philippines has adopted the name West Philippine Sea for areas in the South China Sea that are situated within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Analysts feared that overlapping claims in the South China Sea by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, could spark major military confrontations.