PH embassy officials staying despite Egypt unrest

The more than 6,000 Filipinos – mostly in Cairo and Alexandria – are advised by the foreign affairs department to stay indoors

MASSIVE PROTESTS. The Egyptian military says the protests against Mohamed Morsi were the largest in Egyptian history. File photo by EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the unrest in Egypt that saw the ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi, the Philippines will not pull out its embassy officials “to ensure the safety of our fellow Filipinos there.”

On Thursday, July 4, a day after Morsi’s ouster, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had not recommended embassy personnel to leave, nor was there any advice for Filipinos to come home.

In a separate press conference, the DFA warned Filipinos in Egypt to stay indoors. Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said the DFA had raised crisis alert level 1 over Egypt due to the political unrest there. This warning urges Filipinos not to go outside, avoid places with protests, and take other necessary precautions.

Hernandez said the volatile situation could affect at least 6,569 Filipinos in Egypt. According to government records, these Filipinos are living and working mostly in the capital, Cairo, and the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.

“The embassy has intensified its monitoring of the political and security situation in that country,” he added.

The Philippine government’s decision to allow embassy officials to stay in Egypt came after the United States ordered most of its embassy staff to evacuate, with an advisory that political unrest “is likely to worsen in the near future.” Britain, for its part, said the situation is “clearly dangerous.”

Mum on Morsi

Lacierda also refused to comment on Morsi’s removal from power.

“We do not wish to get into the political situation – internal situation – in Egypt. Our first and foremost consideration is the safety of our fellow Filipinos in Egypt,” he said.

He also quelled fears of sharp increases in oil prices because of hampered routes following Morsi’s ouster, saying inventories are in place, and the Department of Energy (DOE) will follow the developments.

Egypt is now in a political transition after Morsi was ousted on Wednesday, July 3. Before his downfall, massive protests were mounted over his alleged betrayal of the 2011 revolution that catapulted him to power.

Morsi is now detained and separated from his senior aides.

Morsi was the country’s first freely elected president. He won the elections a year ago. His ouster comes just two years after an Egyptian uprising that ended 30 years of authoritarian rule by Hosni Mubarak. – Rappler.com

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