I’ve mentioned before being struck by the observation made by a veteran official who once remarked to me, “We are all students of power,” and in times like these, journalists, bloggers, historians, sociologists, political scientists, diplomats and officials all end up drawn to the flames of beleaguered governments like moths. All the more so because the crumbling of governments often happens quickly, unexpectedly, particularly when in the nature of a revolution: in which case the drama requires all the experts to come up with theories and explanations to camouflage their inability to predict what has begun to take place. Kapuskinsci has a marvelous passage on the surprising nature of revolutions.
Governments, of course, take a different look at events as they unfold: in the case of our government, its primary duty is to look after the welfare and safety of its citizens, as well as to be a voice for reason in times of crisis. This morning, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte read the following Palace statament on radio:
The Philippine government expresses its concern over the events unfolding in Egypt, particularly for the safety of the more than 6,500 Filipinos living there. We hope for a peaceful and just resolution to the political unrest currently taking place and a swift return to stability. Here in Manila, we are monitoring the situation and our embassy in Cairo has contingencies in place and is prepared to relocate our citizens to safer areas if it becomes necessary to do so. As always, the safety of our citizens is the paramount concern and we are doing what we can to anticipate and attend to their needs.
In his Twitter account, Secretary Ramon Carandang gave updates last night: today, the Department of Foreign Affairs told the media it was prepared to evacuate 6,569 Filipinos in Egypt if the situation warranted it. In her Twitter account, Undersecretary Valte also provided updates on the President’s instructions to the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Employment, Defense and the Presidential Management Staff, and the Philippine Embassy in Egypt’s announcement that it has prepared four relocation sites should the need arise: three in Cairo and one in Alexandria.