8 March 2013--The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur remains open, and its personnel committed to their work, in light of peaceful and orderly rallies that were held in front of the Embassy in relation to the incidents in Lahad Datu and other places.

"We have a job to do, particularly to extend humanitarian assistance to those who have been displaced or otherwise adversely affected by the incident, and to ensure humane treatment to those who have been wounded and captured," Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.

"The officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy are working doubly hard and are focused on these tasks," he added.

Teams from the Embassy, with augmentation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies, are in Lahad Datu and Semporna/Tawau on a humanitarian and consular mission for the affected Filipinos in those areas.

The Embassy has put in place added security measures for the safety of its personnel and their families, its property and Embassy clients and visitors.

On the afternoon of March 7, a 40-member group from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-Youth held a brief rally in front of the Embassy, where they also handed in a letter of protest. The organizers emphasized that the gathering was not a protest against the Philippine Government, but against Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in his personal capacity, whose extradition to Malaysia they seek.

On Friday morning, representatives from nongovernmental organizations Ikatan Rakyat Muslim Malaysia, Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia and Malaysian Muslim Economy and Social Chamber, numbering around 20, rallied in front of the Embassy, and also handed over a letter of protest.

In the afternoon, in an event called Ops Bunga (Operation Flower), a number of Malaysians brought flowers in front of the Embassy gate as a gesture of peace. Its organizers stated that the event is aimed in showing that Malaysia is a peaceful nation, and they hope that both countries "will do their utmost best to do the best for the people and the relations of both our countries."

The Embassy is grateful for the presence of the Kuala Lumpur police force in the Embassy's immediate vicinity in ensuring the safety of the Embassy, as well as of those who participated in the rallies. END