DFA urges Filipinos in Bahrain to restrict movements, depart voluntarily

Bahrain fountain.Image via Wikipedia
Bahrain Fountain
A March 15, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that in light of increasing tensions in Bahrain, it has raised the alert level in the country from alert level 1 (heightened alertness) to alert level 2 (restriction of movement).
“The DFA has raised the alert level to alert level 2.  By this, we are asking our nationals to restrict their movements to those which are necessary, and to voluntarily depart Bahrain,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis said in a press conference today.
“While we are hopeful that the political situation in the country would stabilize, precautionary measures are needed to assure the safety of Filipinos in Bahrain,” he added.
He also stated that there is yet no need to raise the level to alert level 3 (voluntary repatriation), where the DFA will make available facilities for the repatriation of Filipinos.
It may be recalled that the DFA issued a travel advisory on February 21 to defer non-urgent and non-essential travel to Bahrain.
Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have adopted similar measures.
Undersecretary Seguis assured the public that the Embassy’s contingency plan in Bahrain is updated and in place, and proactive measures are undertaken, including the conduct of meetings with the Filipino community leaders and members to brief them of the contingency plans.
The Embassy in Bahrain has been closely monitoring developments in the country, and has met with the Filipino community leaders in the country as early as February 17 to orient them of the Embassy’s contingency plans.
Ambassador Corazon Yap-Bahjin released an advisory to Filipinos nationals on that same day, asking them to remain calm, actively monitor ongoing developments, keep their communications lines open with the Embassy and their designated community coordinators, and inform the Embassy or Filipino community coordinators assigned to their area of their whereabouts.
The advisory also said that Filipinos refrain from going outdoors unless necessary; stock at least a two-week supply of food and water as well as medicines, flashlights, candles, mobile phones and radios; make sure that important documents such as passports and driver’s licenses are readily available; and be sensitive to local culture, customs and traditions, and religious beliefs in Bahrain, as well as avoid making comments or actions that may be considered politically sensitive.
The Embassy has also made available hotline numbers for Filipinos in Bahrain for updates: (973) 17721234, (973) 17740951 and (973) 17721908.