DFA says worried for Pinoys in Honduras

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2009 10:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2009 06:23 AM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday expressed concern over the welfare of Filipinos working in Honduras, after a military coup ousted the Central American nation's leader, sparking violence in the streets.

The DFA said there are currently around 220 Filipinos in Honduras, mostly working in the garment or textile factories.

The department is now checking the conditions and safety of these Filipinos in the country.

Curfew, protests in Tegucigalpa

Honduras interim leader Roberto Micheletti imposed a nationwide 48-hour curfew after the army ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile.

Congress voted Micheletti in as the country's new leader just hours after Zelaya fled, while insisting he was still president.

Shots were heard in the Honduras capital late Sunday and the United Nations General Assembly was to discuss the crisis in the Central American nation on Monday when Micheletti was to announce his new government.

After some 200 troops swooped on Zelaya's home at dawn on Sunday, he was bundled away in his pajamas and flown out of the country. Zelaya traveled to Costa Rica and later Managua to take part in a summit of radical Latin American leaders. He told reporters he was determined to return and "reclaim his post."

In the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, shots were heard near the presidential palace late Sunday, but their cause was not immediately clear.

And a politically powerful union of teachers announced an indefinite strike to protest Zelaya's ouster.

As planes and helicopters overflew the capital, several hundred Zelaya supporters ignored warnings to stay home and took to the streets of Tegucigalpa shouting out, "We want Mel," the president's nickname.

The demonstration was halted in front of the presidential palace by a cordon of troops and armored vehicles.

Zelaya's overthrow was triggered by a standoff between the president and the military and legal institutions over his bid to secure a second term.

Congress said it voted unanimously to remove the president for "apparent misconduct" and "repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions."

Micheletti was appointed to serve out the rest of the term, which ends in January. New general elections are planned for November 29.

Zelaya, elected to a non-renewable four-year term in 2005, had planned a vote Sunday asking Hondurans to sanction a referendum to allow him to stand again in the November polls.

The referendum had been ruled illegal by Honduras's top court and was opposed by the military. With reports from Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News, and the Agence France-Presse