MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang advised Filipinos to avoid travelling to Hong Kong as the escalating protests cripple Hong Kong International Airport operations for a second day.
“With respect to going to Hong Kong, this is not the right time to go there because your flight may be cancelled,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo warned as thousands of protesters occupy the airport, blocking departure areas.
“The tension is limited to the airport,” Panelo said. “Avoid going there for now, that’s the advice. You’re not sure whether you’re going to reach Hong Kong in the first place.”
Despite the protests, the government finds no reason to issue a ban on travelling to Hong Kong.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said that they continue to monitor the situation and will update the public regularly. Since August 13, nine PAL flights to and from Hong Kong have resumed.
A Hong Kong protester holds a poster of the medic that has been blinded by the state police through a ‘beanbag round’—a projectile made of small fabric pillow filled with lead pellets that had been used to disperse the protest. Photo by Deacon Lui (Instagram: @lsb.co)
Now on its 11th week, the protests in the Chinese special administrative region initially started as a movement against the proposed extradition bill. The bill allows Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China for any perceived offenses or crimes against the country.
Since then, the bill has been suspended but the protests have continued. Activists are now calling for the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam. Additionally, they also demand an independent investigation into the alleged police brutality that were committed against some protesters.
Lam warned the people about the dangerous consequences should the protests continue and escalate in violence.
“Violence, no matter if it’s using violence or condoning violence, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return, will plunge Hong Kong society into a very worrying and dangerous situation,” Lam said.
At the airport, the protesters managed to fill up the arrivals hall before entering the departure area. Airport security measures have increased to keep out the protesters. But the protesters have blocked off one entrance to the immigration area. After this, all flights last August 13 were cancelled.
“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all departure flights have been cancelled,” the airport website statement said. They also advised all passengers to vacate the terminal buildings as soon as possible.
The Department of Foreign Affairs also advised the Filipino workers to refrain from wearing any clothing or using objects that might mistake them as part of the protest. (HGBH/LMO)
Photo by Deacon Lui (Instagram: @lsb.co)