Philippine President Arroyo who is with other world leaders in New York attending the annual general assembly meeting has come out with what is one of the few statements by leaders in ASEAN versus the repression in Myanmar.
Most ASEAN leaders - like in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are borderline countries on human rights issues. By and large while there are problems too here in the Philippines with active insurgencies and some cases of violations.
Most if not all cases that make it the courts do go through the legal process - and - widespread crackdowns like the current one in Rangoon are rare. However, Burma’s rulers often do as the rulers of any dictatorship do and do not pay heed to their own people let alone really listen intently to other leaders in the region.
Privately Philippine officials in Manila speaking on ‘Conditions of Anonymity’ say “China is the key here - and - China can stop the violence in Burma and should. So far its diplomats have been trying, one wonders how long Beijing will cover for the Yangoon Junta which of late has caused a lot of embarrassment and problems for the leaders Beijing.”
..Philippine President Arroyo: We call on Myanmar to act in its own best interests to avoid its further isolation and to redeem its democracy without any further delay. We have patiently but persistently advised Myanmar within ASEAN that it must make greater and faster progress toward that goal.
Recent events in Myanmar, therefore, are of concern to the Philippines and to the region as a whole. The Philippines asks the Government of Myanmar to act with the utmost restraint and to take immediate steps to preserve what advances have been made in its roadmap to democracy. Specifically, we ask the Government of Myanmar to now allow all interested parties to take full part in the effort to national reconciliation through peaceful and inclusive dialogue.
This means the release of all those who have been detained and who can contribute to the process of national renewal, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. In addition, we ask that the Government of Myanmar invite the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, to visit the country as soon as possible. …
| PGMA urges Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi, Buddhist monks |
|NEW YORK (via PLDT) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday (Sept. 27, New York time) urged the government of Myanmar to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and scores of Buddhist monks who have been rounded up for staging protests against the country’s military rulers. |
In a statement that she distributed personally to members of the Philippine media at the Waldorf Astoria Towers where she is billeted during her three-day official trip here, the President said freeing Suu Kyi from years of house arrest serves Myanmar’s own best interests and avoid further isolation of the country from the rest of the world’s democracies.
Myanmar is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Recent events in Myanmar, therefore, are of concern to the Philippines and to the region as a whole,” the President said, and called on Yangon to act with “utmost restraint and to make immediate steps to preserve what advances have been made in its roadmap to democracy.”
She said it was important that all stakeholders engage in a common search for a peaceful resolution of the current unrest in the country and bring about national reconciliations..
“This means,” she added, the “release of all those who have been detained and who can contribute to the process of national renewal, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.”
She also called on Rangoon’s military leaders to invite United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari to visit that country as soon as possible to look into the situation there.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was democratically elected prime minister of Myanmar in 1990 but the military refused to hand over power to her winning National League for Democracy Party. Suu Kyi has been under house address since 1989.
The President will address the UN General Assembly before noon Friday (New York time) as she winds up her official visit to the Big Apple. She is scheduled to head back to Manila Friday afternoon, (New York time).
A stronger presence of troops were on the streets of Rangoon overnight.
Thursdays protests has led the Myanmar Military to impose stircter means to keep control and is trying to prevent more events Friday from occurring.
 Protesters emptied the streets of the capital around 1800 Thursday. Security forces are working systematically, block by block, alley by ally in some cases house to house through the city center to ensure that no demonstrators remain….
Myanmar’s government is stepping up it’s effort to disrupt internal and external communication services.
Whle Satellite phone remain the most reliable method of communication, unless diplomats or investors clearly working on government projects there have been some reports of Sat-phones seized.
The evening curfew remains in place a 1800-0600hrs or dusk to dawn curfew.
Here’s what the major embassies are reporting:
.. Travel Advisories:.
1.The US government issued a travel advisory recommending its citizens to defer non-essential travel to Myanmar.
2. The UK government also advises against all but essential travel to Myanmar.
3. There are no current indications that airlines have added flights to Yangon to prepare for a large scale evacuation of foreigners.
4. Thai Airways has rescheduled two flights on the Bangkok-Yangon route between 27 September and 5 October to ensure passengers are able to observe the curfew …
Observers say “the protests are likely to continue and could turn increasingly violent, as across the country - large numbers of monks and supporters are mobilizing to protest and while the military responds more vigorously to contain the demonstrations.
Other groups such as insurgents may take advantage of the situation in the countryside.
Also criminal elements may take advantage of the situation in particular the use of current unrest to smuggle more narcotics out of Burma.
In the Cities itself, the risk of an extended confrontation over coming days and possibly weeks is high. The details so far from Thursday are grim.
 Protesters have sustained injuries, many of them wounded by gunfire.
On the Government as well the injuries are reportedly rising as protesters are trying to defend themselves.
… Approximately 31 members of the security forces were reportedly injured. Figures on casualties are likely to rise in the next 48 hours. 
Travelers and those already in Burma should be aware of some reports of arrests over curfew violations as conflicting schedules of curfew have been issued for the countryside areas and in the Cities.
… Conflicting reports on the curfew hours imposed on Yangon and Mandalay; the curfew is either 2100-0500 or 1800-0600….