DFA calls for restoration of ‘status quo ante’ in Myanmar

MANILA – The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), on Tuesday called for “the complete restoration of the status quo ante” in Myanmar in the wake of an escalating political tension in the country.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. reiterated Manila’s support of democracy in the Southeast Asian nation, recognizing both the military and its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s roles in shaping the nation.

“The Philippines has been supportive of Myanmar’s progress towards a fuller democracy, cognizant of the Army’s role in preserving its territorial integrity and national security, as well as the unifying role of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the history of the country and Army her father founded,” he said. “The realization of this democratic process can only be achieved through the complete restoration of the status quo ante.”

Myanmar’s military seized power and detained senior political officials, including Suu Kyi last week, alleging fraud in the November 2020 general elections overwhelmingly won by Suu Kyi’s party the National League for Democracy.

The power grab prompted a series of demonstrations against the junta takeover and to demand the release of Suu Kyi. Several cities in Myanmar, including Yangon, have reportedly been placed under martial law as of this posting.

In a recent ANC interview, Locsin said he wants to see the army, Suu Kyi, and freedom to “work hand-in-hand again”.

Previously, he criticized Western nations for destroying the reputation of Suu Kyi and “making her a victim of the military”.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s paragon of democracy and a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, met criticism over her alleged inaction in the atrocities toward the Rohingya minority.

“I pour scorn on the Western world for destroying Aung San Suu Kyi and making her a victim of the military,” he said in a February 4 Senate hearing, noting that the Rohingya issue was the problem of Britain, which he said, “created a sub-class of sub-human Rohingya” and left them to Burma without giving them residence or citizenship.

“Aung San Suu Kyi had to balance the continuing tolerance of the army for her democratic moves against the racial hatred against the Rohingya. And what did the Western and those fairies in Oxford do? They tear her down, they removed her reputation,” he said.

“She had only the adoration of the world to stand up with against the army. They stripped her of all of that… Now the army saw, this woman has nothing, she has no name, no reputation, ‘it’s time to get her out of the way’ and that’s what happened,” he added. (PNA)