• DFA raises crisis alert level in Bangkok

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    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday raised to crisis alert level two its advisory on Thailand after the announcement of a 60-day state of emergency.

    Alert level 2 is issued when there are real threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos “arising from internal disturbance or external threat.”

    Filipinos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas were instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places and prepare for evacuation.

    “While there has been an effort to maintain a state of normalcy in the Thai capital, the situation remains fluid and volatile, particularly in anti-government protest areas,”a statement from the department said.

    The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok continues to advise Filipinos with essential travel plans to, and those residing in, Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, “to avoid the rally sites and large gatherings and to refrain from taking part in the protest or other political activities.”

    “Everyone is advised to continue exercising extreme caution and vigilance and to closely monitor developments,” the embassy said.

    The DFA said the embassy is ready to extend the necessary assistance to all in Thailand.

    A 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas was announced in the latest effort to curb mass protests in the Thai capital.

    It has been more than a week since demonstrators attempted to shut down the capital as they blocked major roads leading to government offices.

    The protests are still part of the opposition’s strategy to oust Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose brother, Thaksin, enjoys the strong support of the rural people.

    The protests are primarily aimed against Thaksin’s considerable influence on Thailand’s political fabric that stemmed from the elite’s and the educated middle class’ apprehensions over Thaksin’s power over the rural poor.

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