No travel ban to Bangkok following blast, says Manila

No travel ban to Bangkok following blast, says Manila
Soldiers prevent people from getting close to the cordoned-off site of a bomb blast at the popular Erawan shrine (background) in the heart of Bangkok's tourist and commercial centre on August 18, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday morning said Filipinos who have scheduled trips to Thailand could proceed but should take precautionary measures.

"If you have plans, perhaps you can go but avoid crowded places in Bangkok, " said DFA spokesperson Charles Jose in an Inquirer radio program.

He added, "There are other places you could go to in Bangkok."

The DFA spokesperson said the agency had to assess the "overall situation before issuing a travel advisory."

The reminder came several hours after an explosion rocked Bangkok and killed at least 18 people. Thai news agencies, quoting local police, said a Filipino was among the fatalities.

However, Jose said they had yet to verify the news.

He said they already sent someone to the Police General Hospital where most of the victims were taken.

Jose said the DFA was still waiting for the full report of the Philippine embassy in Thailand.

He explained that while media could quote people and claim certain facts, the Philippine government required "documentary evidence" to determine "100 per cent" that a victim was indeed Filipino.

He said there had been instances when news reports came out with wrong information.

Reports said an improvised explosive device went off at the Erawan shrine in central Bangkok, which is among the most popular tourist spots in the city.

The explosion happened at about 7pm, when the shrine was crowded with locals and foreigners.

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