MANILA (UPDATED) – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said it has not yet received reports of Filipinos affected in the terrorist attacks that rocked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris, France.
DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the agency is closely coordinating with the Philippine post in the French capital to monitor the safety of Filipinos.
“So far, wala po tayong natatanggap na ulat galing sa ating Embassy sa Paris na mayroon pong mga Pilipinong apektado po rito sa nangyari sa France,” Jose told radio dzMM.
A Reuters report said about 100 people were killed in the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris and 40 others have died in other locations in and around the city.
The apparently coordinated gun and bomb assault came as the country, a founder member of the U.S.-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks ahead of a global climate conference due to open later this month.
President Francois Hollande, who was attending an international soccer match with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier when several explosions took place outside the national stadium, declared a state of emergency in the Paris region and announced the closure of France’s borders to stop perpetrators escaping.
Andre Estanislao, Philippine vice consul in Paris, said they are coordinating with French authorities to assure that no Filipino has been hurt in the mass hostage-taking at the Bataclan concert hall.
A report from Reuters said armed attackers shot dead people attending a rock concert one by one before police stormed the building. One witness said an attacker had earlier yelled “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”) and fired into the crowd at the concert given by US rock band Eagles of Death Metal.
Estanislao encouraged Filipinos in France to stay at home and avoid public places.
“Huwag muna hong lumabas ng bahay kung hindi naman talaga kinakailangan. Manatili muna sa kani-kanilang mga tahanan. Avoid ang unnecessary travel,” he said.
The Philippine Embassy in Paris may be reached through emergency hotline +33 620592515. — With a report from Reuters