• DFA raises crisis alert for Egypt to 3

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    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday raised the crisis alert level for Egypt to 3 as the civil unrest there continued to escalate.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario raised the alert level on the recommendation of Philippine Ambassador to Cairo Claro Cristobal.

    Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said alert level 3 calls for the voluntary repatriation of some 6,000 Filipinos in Egypt. It also meant that “the deployment of new workers, as well as the return to Egypt of vacationing workers, spouses of Egyptian nationals, Islamic university students and their dependents, is suspended,” Hernandez said.

    Del Rosario instructed the Philippine mission in Cairo to assist all Filipinos who want to return to Manila.

    Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi declared a state of emergency following the bloody  dispersal of protest rallies of the “Muslim Brotherhood,” believed to be supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi.

    The government said 235 civilians have been killed but the Brotherhood claimed the figure was 2,000.

    Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, was ousted on July 3. His supporters want him reinstated.

    He is believed to be in custody at an undisclosed location. He has been accused of approving the murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers during a prison breakout in 2011.

    The state of emergency imposed a curfew in Cairo and several other provinces. Members of the Brotherhood are being arrested continually, reports said.

    Interim Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei resigned from the government, saying that he could not shoulder the responsibility brought by the decisions which he is not in favor of.

    “I cannot shoulder the responsibility for a single drop of blood,” he said in a statement.

    The United States, European Union and the United Kingdom reacted strongly to the violent clearance of the protesters’ camps.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip called on the United Nations and the Arab League to act immediately.

    BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

     

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