Philippines to evacuate Filipinos in Myanmar if situation deteriorates

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2021 10:28 AM | Updated as of Feb 08 2021 10:29 AM

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MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday it is prepared to evacuate Filipinos in Myanmar if the situation deteriorates following a military coup and the detention of elected leaders there.

No Filipino has so far volunteered to return home to the Philippines, said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

"It is a military emergency, I assume that our people are apolitical and that they are safe. My first instruction was to prepare for an evacuation in the event things deteriorate," he told ANC's Headstart.

Locsin added that he would meet with Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Edwardo Kapunan on Monday afternoon.

The country's top diplomat said he wants Myanmar's status quo to be restored.

"I want to engage with the situation in Burma and see if I can restore the status quo, which is not to say for the army to retreat but for the army, (Aung San) Suu Kyi and freedom to work hand-in-hand again because it was working," he said.

Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country of about 54 million people grappling with poverty and fledgling institutions, is seeing a political upheaval a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Feb. 1, the military took power from the civilian government, detaining leaders elected in parliamentary polls held last year, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

It was the start of yet another chapter in Myanmar’s tumultuous history, plunging the country back under military rule just 10 years since the people won democracy.