MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday brushed aside the claim of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman that the “nonchalant attitude” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration towards the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar proves its support for government militarization.

In a virtual Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is no longer surprised that Lagman would make such a claim because the lawmaker is a known “enemy” of the Duterte administration.

“Personal na opinyon po niya. Hindi na po dapat iyan kumentuhan. At alam naman natin talagang kalaban po si Congressman Lagman ng gobyerno natin (That’s his personal opinion. We would not comment on that. And we also know that Congressmen Lagman is an enemy of our government),” Roque said.

Roque’s statement was in response to Lagman’s claim that the Palace’s refusal to comment on the military coup in Myanmar “confirms and defends the militarization of the government”.

Myanmar’s military detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top officials of the ruling National League for Democracy following allegations of irregularities and fraud in the country’s multiparty general elections on Nov. 8, 2020.

It also declared a one-year state of emergency, transferring power to military leader Min Aung Hlaing and new acting president Myint Swe, a former general, and vice president.

Roque said he would rather defer to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to react to the issue.

Roque, nevertheless, reassured that the safety of Filipinos in Myanmar is the government’s top priority.

“Sa ngayon po, handa pong magbigay tulong ang ating embahada doon bagama’t in terms of actual update eh wala pa po akong nakukuhang impormasyon… (As of now, our embassy there is ready to provide assistance. However, we have yet to receive information in terms of actual update),” he said.

As of June 2020, there are around 1,273 Filipinos in Myanmar, according to the data released by the DFA.

The DFA on Monday said it is reaching out to the Filipino community through the mobile application WhatsApp.

The Philippine Embassy in Myanmar, in an advisory, also asked Filipinos in the host country to remain calm and stay at home. (PNA)