Philippines urges Thai army to restore democracy

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE government of the Philippines joined international calls on Sunday for the Thailand military to work for the immediate restoration of democracy.

“The Philippines hopes that the present authorities will honor their commitment to respect democratic principles and human rights at all times and will restore civilian authority,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose.

The Thai army declared Martial Law in the country on May 20 followed by the announcement of a military coup on May 22, saying it is part of their strategy “for the country to return to normal quickly.”

Since the military takeover, the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), comprised of all branches of armed forces and the police, has arrested more than 100 ruling party and opposition politicians, activists, journalists, and others accused of supporting the deposed government, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

While some have been released, the army has also ordered some 155 others to report, including deposed acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

Those summoned by the military face arrest and prosecution if they fail to report, and are prohibited from leaving Thailand.

The military has also imposed widespread censorship and other broad restrictions on broadcast, print, and electronic media across the country.

Residents were told to follow curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. as the military banned public gatherings of more than five people.

Jose said the Philippines is hopeful that the situation in Thailand will not get worse.

He urged concerned parties to peacefully work for the restoration of normalcy in the country.

“The Philippines hopes the Thai people will be able to resolve this latest political challenge peacefully through dialogue and in the spirit of national harmony,” said Jose.

The Commission on Filipino Overseas places the number of Filipinos in Thailand at 16,303. (HDT/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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