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US calls on Filipinos to respect rule of law

The United States called on the Philippine government and the Filipino people “to respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence." This comes following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s imposition of a state of emergency Friday to quell an alleged coup attempt. "The US Government is monitoring the situation in the Philippines very closely," the embassy said in a statement. Washington also urged more than 100,000 Americans living in the Philippines to "take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety during this uncertain time," US embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said in a statement read on national television. Arroyo on Friday declared a "state of national emergency," invoking powers to use the military to quell a rebellion and to take over public utilities if necessary, after the government detained several people including a general who it said withdrew his support for Arroyo, the commander-in-chief. "We call on the Government of the Philippines and the Filipino people to respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence," the US statement said. The embassy released the statement an hour after Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo briefed the diplomatic corps on the President’s declaration of a state of national emergency. US charge d'affaires Paul Jones attended the briefing. "The members of the Diplomatic Corps appreciated this briefing and have strongly indicated their support for President Arroyo and the democratic institutions of the Republic of the Philippines," Romulo said in a statement. Aside from the United States, Australia and Hong Kong also issued advisories urging their citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the Philippines. -