PH eases Bangkok crisis alert
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines lowered the crisis alert level in Bangkok after Thailand lifted the state of emergency there, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Monday, March 24.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made this decision after the state of emergency ended last March 19. Thailand said it wants to lure back tourists after weeks-long protests that threatened national security.
“Under alert level 1, Filipinos in Bangkok and the concerned areas, namely Nonthaburi Province, Lad Lum Kaew District of Pathumthani Province, and Bang Phli District of Samutprakan Province, are advised to take necessary precautions,” the DFA said in a statement.
“There is no ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers under alert level 1,” it added.
Up to 16,300 Filipinos live in Bangkok, according to the latest estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
In January, the DFA warned these Filipinos "to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for evacuation." It imposed crisis alert level 2 over the city that was then under a state of emergency.
For tourists, businesses
The situation changed in 2 months. Last Tuesday, March 18, Thailand announced the end of the state of emergency as it hoped to lure back foreign visitors.
The use of emergency rule dealt a heavy blow to Thailand's key tourism industry during what is usually peak season, and also raised fears of a drop in foreign investment.
Thailand replaced the state of emergency with another special law, the Internal Security Act, in effect from March 19 to April 30, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's office said.
“We're confident that we can handle the situation so the cabinet agreed to revoke the state of emergency as requested by many parties,” Yingluck told reporters.
“The cancellation is to build confidence in the economy and the tourism sector,” she said.
Yingluck has faced more than 4 months of political protests aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected "people's council" to oversee reforms. (READ: Thirst for democracy catches world powers off guard)
The state of emergency was introduced in the run-up to a February 2 general election called by the premier in an unsuccessful attempt to calm the crisis. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com