February 15, 2021 at 12:50 am
Rey E. Requejo
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday criticized the United Nations Human Rights Council for “deliberately misinterpreting the Philippines’ remarks on the resolution calling for the restoration of the status quo ante” in Myanmar before the military coup that resulted in the arrest of its key leaders, including the democratic icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“@UNGeneva deliberately misinterpreted the Philippine statement calling for “a complete restoration of the status quo ANTE with Suu Kyi back in her former power and influence, the Army in its protective role, the people enjoying again the measure of freedom she achieved. Won’t bow to the hypocrites,” Locsin said in a Twitter post.
“To the hypocrites @UNGeneva. Prepare evac of as many Filipinos to get out of harm’s way and of the PH embassy of course. I won’t have the Geneva hypocrites dictate on our ‘nuanced’ approach to work for the possible rather than the self-satisfying impossibility of whites.”
On Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs released a statement declaring it was dissociating itself from the UN resolution adopted by the UN human rights body calling for the freedom of Suu Kyi as well as the protection of Myanmar locals who are protesting against the military coup in their country, without calling for a vote.
“As a sovereign country in a world of sovereign states, the Philippines cannot stress strongly enough the primacy of national internal efforts towards democratic reforms, and never by imposition of foreign solutions whether in regional or multilateral contexts, including through this Council,” the department said. “We reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar.”
Last week, Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Eduardo Kapunan Jr. said the embassy has been authorized to undertake “drastic measures” to ensure the safety of Filipinos should the situation there escalate.
“The Secretary of Foreign Affairs has given me the authority to take drastic measures in case things escalate, like for example, closing down the embassy and evacuating all Filipinos here by air, by sea, whatever,” Kapunan said in a radio interview.
Kapunan said he has already coordinated with Bangkok’s top diplomat in Myanmar for possible evacuation of Filipinos to Thailand.
“I already talked to the ambassador of Thailand here and they’re all willing to assist in any way so we can evacuate there by boat, by land. So we’re coordinating with them,” he said. “We also have a line-up of commercial vessels that we can use, if the need arises.”
Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs showed there are 1, 273 Filipinos in Myanmar as of June last year.
Many Filipinos in Myanmar work in the manufacturing industry as supervisors while some also work for the United Nations agencies and other international organizations there, the DFA said.