DFA: No need to evacuate Filipinos in Hong kong 'at this time'

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has assured the public that there's no need to evacuate Filipinos in Hong Kong "at this time" as they "remain safe" amid ongoing protests and violent dispersals there. (READ: Hong Kong: 5 months of unrest)

The DFA  made the assurance on Saturday, November 16, in response to what it called “false reports” on social media depicting a different situation.

“The DFA wishes to assure everyone that (contrary to some false reports circulating in social media) Filipinos in Hong Kong remain safe and are largely unaffected by the ongoing protests in the area. Hence, the DFA sees no need to evacuate them at this time,” it said.

“The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong  is closely monitoring the situation and is taking every step to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our nationals there,” the DFA added.

The DFA said it would be best to check the website of the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong for updates and advisories “instead of turning to questionable sources of information on social media.” 

There are over 130,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, mostly domestic workers.

The DFA issued the statement a few days after pro-democracy protesters stepped up  a "blossom everywhere" campaign of road blocks and vandalism across Hong Kong that crippled the international financial hub this week and ignited some of the worst violence in 5 months of unrest.

The new phase in the crisis, which has forced schools and shopping malls to close as well as the shutdown of large chunks of the vital train network, prompted police to warn on Tuesday, November 12, that the city was "on the brink of total collapse." 

 At least two people had died and many others injured in the protests and dispersals.

The protest movement has been fueled by fears that China is choking the liberties and freedoms Hong Kong is meant to have under the terms of the handover deal with the British. Protesters are demanding the right to freely elect their leaders. – With reports from Agence France-Presse

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