OFW says Filipinos in Myanmar are okay; advised to stay at home amid anti-coup protests

Published February 11, 2021, 10:15 AM

by Noreen Jazul

A Filipino living in Myanmar said they were advised to stay at home amid continuous anti-coup protests across the country.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay on February 10, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Stay at home at mag-monitor at parating mag-communicate sa embassy dahil kung lalala ang tensyon dito at kailangan ng mandatory repatriation ay malaman ng embassy saan ang aming location (Stay at home and monitor and communicate with the embassy because if the tension here worsens and mandatory repatriation will be needed, the embassy would know where we are),” lawyer Jobert Pahilga told DZMM Teleradyo when asked about the advice given to Filipinos in Myanmar by the embassy there.

Pahilga said most Filipinos in Myanmar are doing fine. Relief flights have already been arranged for those affected by the protests.

The lawyer also allayed fears of relatives of Filipinos in Myanmar, saying the anti-coup rallies are generally peaceful.

“Maliban nung Martes na nagkaroon ng violent dispersal ng mga rallyists, ay peaceful naman yung mga rally (Except Tuesday’s protest when a violent dispersal of rallyists occurred, the rally here is peaceful),” he said.

“Kaming mga Pilipino ay di naman sumasali sa protest. Kami naman ay nag si-stay at home lang (Filipinos don’t participate in the protest. We just stay at home),” he added.

The internet has also been restored in Myanmar according to Pahilga. However, social media platforms such as Facebook remain restricted.

On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s junta staged a coup and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi after alleging fraud in her party’s landslide election win in November.

Since then, Pahilga said protests have been happening daily in the country.

The Filipino lawyer added that there’s also a civil disobedience movement wherein government employees, teachers, doctors, bank employees, and other workers don’t report for work as a way to protest against the military.

On Feb.9, a violent dispersal of protesters happened in Mandalay which is Myanmar’s second biggest city.

News agency Agence France-Presse reported that police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Anti-coup rallyists in Naypyidaw were fired at with water cannons and rubber bullets, according to an AFP report.