(UPDATE) Filipinos in Bangkok uneasy, but safe

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2010 11:23 AM | Updated as of May 21 2010 08:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos in Bangkok are uneasy about the violence that has escalated in the Thai capital in recent days.

No casualties or injuries involving Filipinos have been reported so far.

Filipino OJ Quevedo says he has to work from home as his office is right across the war zone.

“Yong office ko mismo nasa area ng war zone. Sobrang malala iyong sitwasyon. Maraming barbed wires, maraming sundalo. Lahat ng public transportation kahit mga tren sarado. Two days ago, mayroon silang pinasabog sa labas ng building,” Quevedo said.

Quevedo’s other Filipino friends who live right in the war zone had to move to a safer area as power, water and phone lines were cut and food was becoming difficult to procure.

Despite this, Quevedo said he remains positive that the situation in the capital will soon return to normal.

“Medyo optimistic pa naman ako na magbabago ang sitwasyon. Magiging back to normal siguro mga next month,” Quevedo said.

Filipino Fritz Yee, on the other hand, is among the “Red Shirts” who have been joining the protests aimed at pressuring Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiwa to hold fresh elections.

Yee says there is no guarantee the situation will improve anytime soon as other “Red Shirts” have become uncontrollable.

“We do not condone but we cannot control. There's no more control in the followers," Yee said.

Roby Alampay, executive-director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, earlier told ANC's Headstart in a phone interview on Thursday that Filipinos staying in the city abided by the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew imposed by Thailand’s armed forces.

"There was no report of any Filipinos in any untoward incident. By and large, most Filipinos stayed home last night," Alampay said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reissued its travel advisory to Bangkok, Thailand.

“Kung maaari, huwag munang pumunta ulit sa Thailand on non-essential travel. Saka iyong mga Pilipinong nandoon na ay to avoid the areas where the clashes are taking place or have just taken place,” said DFA spokesman Eduardo Malaya.

Since March, the number of fatalities in the violent clashes reached 75 while those wounded climbed to more than 1,800.