PH embassy proposes Alert Level 1 for Pinoys in Bangkok

Posted at 01/13/14 3:45 PM

MANILA - As protesters continue to march to rally sites in key parts of Bangkok as part of the plan to shut down the capital, Filipinos living in the area are advised to avoid protest zones.

In an interview on ANC's Dateline Philippines, Philippine Consul General in Thailand Edgar Badajos said the embassy proposed raising alert level 1 for Filipino residents living in Bangkok.

"We are issuing alert level one because we're not seeing any major disturbances as we speak. [They're] telling Filipinos living in central Bangkok to take all the necessary precautions if and when they go out of their respective residences," he said.

Badajos said that despite threats to bring Bangkok to a standstill, the situation is still under control.

"Earlier this morning, we have actually dispatched an inspection team to some of the areas that have been blockaded by the protesters, and the reports we have been receiving from them is that the situation is under control. Everything seems to be very quiet except for the unusually large number of demonstrators in those areas," he said.

Trains continue to run normally in Bangkok, and streets that were not used by protesters were not congested.

The embassy sends out alerts to Filipinos in Bangkok through coordinators, social media posts, SMS, and word of mouth.

"We have several area coordinators within the Filipino community and we have identified to them primarily the
Philippine embassy grounds, which is almost a hectare in area in size, as the primary evacuation area if the situation comes to that," Badajos said.

The Filipino community in Thailand is officially only 8,000-9,000 in size. But Badajos said that including undocumented residents, it is around 15,000.

For Filipino tourists, the embassy also extends assistance to them through the government of Thailand's emergency numbers to which are available over the internet.

The embassy continues to give daily updates on the situation of the rallies, but only hopes that the tension may be solved soon.

"[It's] really very difficult to make any predictions as of now. They have been on the streets since the last week of October. There's really no telling when they'll stop and end their protests," he said.