Myanmar

Philippines refuses to ‘interfere,’ calls Myanmar coup ‘internal matter’

Pia Ranada
Philippines refuses to ‘interfere,’ calls Myanmar coup ‘internal matter’

LEADERS. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte meets Myanmar State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi on March 20, 2017.

Malacañang file photo

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says the primary concern of the Philippine government is the safety of Filipinos in Myanmar

The oldest democracy in Southeast Asia said it sees the military takeover of Myanmar’s democratically elected government as an “internal matter” it will not interfere with.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s office gave this position on Monday, February 1, as the coup was unfolding.

Inaasahan po natin na sa lalong mabilis na panahon sana po bumalik sa normal ‘yan, bagama’t ang pangyayari po sa Myanmar ay isang bagay na internal at hindi po natin pinanghihimasukan,” said Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque during a press briefing.

(We expect that at the soonest possible time things will go back to normal, though the situation in Myanmar is an internal matter we won’t interfere with.)

Roque then said that the “primary” concern of the Philippine government is the safety of Filipinos currently in Myanmar, promising that the embassy will assist nationals there and will provide them protection and temporary shelter, if needed.

Response of other countries

The Philippines’ remarks are markedly different from other democracies, both in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Singapore expressed “grave concern” about the military coup and urged “restraint” and “dialogue” among the actors involved.

Australia spoke of its “deep concern” and called on the military to “respect the rule of law” and the release of elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, a call echoed by the United States.

Must Read

Dateline Southeast Asia – Updates on Myanmar military coup

Dateline Southeast Asia – Updates on Myanmar military coup

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the military’s move and urged it to “respect the will of the people of Myanmar.”

The Philippines’ response was more similar to those of Thailand and Cambodia. The two Southeast Asian countries also labelled the coup as an “internal” matter. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.