MANILA - Malacanang on Friday said the movement of Filipinos in Venezuela is now restricted as political tension in the South American country rises.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the movement of migrant Filipinos in Venezuela has been restricted, based on an advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
"Restricted na iyung kanilang movements, which is attendant to the raising of number two on the alert level. So far, we have not gotten reports of any Filipino who has been injured, or at least involved in the mass actions. And hopefully, it stays that way," she said.
Valte assured the public that the government is in touch with Filipinos in the Latin American country to ensure their safety.
"Iyung mga kababayan naman po natin sumusunod ‘yan doon sa mga alert level na binibigay po ng DFA, especially also, putting context into it, hindi naman po ‘yan biglaan or at least when the DFA gets wind of any situation abroad that our Filipinos might, you know, run into, kinakausap na po nila ‘yung mga community leaders, at meron na po ‘yang mga paunang pagsabi na mag-ingat po tayo sa mga ganitong pangyayari," she said.
The DFA has raised alert level 2 for Filipinos in Venezuela.
"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. Filipinos in the area are advised to limit non-essential movements, to avoid public places, and to prepare for possible evacuation," the DFA said in a press statement.
With that in place, only overseas Filipino workers with existing contracts are allowed to return to the host country.
The Philippine Embassy in Mexico, which has jurisdiction over Venezuela, has already dispatched a consular officer to Caracas to provide on the ground assessment, to coordinate with the Philippine Honorary Consul General in Venezuela, and to assist the estimated 104 Filipino nationals in that country.
On Thursday, a motorcyclist and a soldier were killed when a sniper shot at them while they were removing debris from a barricade set up by protesters
Demonstrators have been staging protests for weeks in an attempt to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power. About 20 more people have been killed since the protest began. -- With reports from ANC