By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has urged Filipinos to avoid travelling to Hong Kong for now after thousands of protesters swarmed the international airport there.
According to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, it was “not the right time” to visit Hong Kong after several flights to and from Hong Kong were canceled.
“‘Yung travel ban siguro with respect kung gusto mo pumunta sa Hong Kong. This is not the right time to go there kasi yung flight mo biglang naka-cancel [On the travel ban with respect if you want to visit Hong Kong, this is the not the right time to go there because your flight might be canceled],” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“Avoid muna going there, that’s the advice kasi you’re not sure you’re going to reach Hong Kong in the first place,” he added.
On the proposed ban on deployment of workers to Hong Kong, Panelo said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III found no need to prohibit such deployment at the moment. He noted that the mass protest was currently limited to the airport.
“Nagkakagulo sa airport. Limited naman ang gulo sa airport [There’s trouble at the airport. It’s limited at the airport],” he said.
The latest government appeal to Filipino travelers came after mass pro-democracy protests have gripped Hong Kong. Airport authorities in Hong Kong have canceled flights after demonstrators gathered at the main terminal to demand the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and denounce alleged police brutality.
The protests started last June following the introduction of a controversial legislation that will allow extradition from Hong Kong to China. The bill has since been shelved, but the protests continued to demand free elections.