President Aquino instructs DFA to ensure safety of Filipinos in Thailand

By on May 21, 2014

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MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ensure the safety of Filipinos in Thailand, following the declaration of martial law by the Thai Army.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said during a press conference on Tuesday that the DFA has raised the Alert Level in Thailand from 1 to 2.

“Under Alert Level 2, Filipinos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for possible evacuation when necessary,” said Coloma.

The Thai Army declared martial law effective 3 a.m. on Tuesday, saying the step is “to restore peace and order for people from all sides.”

News reports said tension began last December when then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house of parliament.

Anti-government protests in Bangkok followed, with demonstrators blockading parts of the city.

Yingluck called a snap general election in February but protesters disrupted the polls and the election was later annulled.

A court removed Yingluck from office earlier this month for abuse of power.

On Monday, acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan insisted his government would not resign, resisting pressure from protesters.