Monday, November 16, 2015

Pinoys give first-hand accounts of Paris attacks

Some Filipinos gave their accounts of the Paris bombing and shooting incidents at restaurants, bars, and at a concert venue early Saturday (Philippine time).
GMA News stringer Dick Villanueva told "Balitanghali" anchor Mariz Umali that two consecutive blasts rocked his house near the national stadium where France and Germany were holding a friendly football match.
"Ang tinitirahan ko ... yung bintana ay nayanig ng konti dahil sa sobrang lakas nung impact ng pagsabog. Magkasunod lang, anim na minuto lang ang pagitan," Villanueva said.
Uno Rodriguez, another Filipino who lived near the attack sites, said in another interview on Balitanghali that residents and tourists practically abandoned the streets, following instructions from President Francois Hollande.
"Normally yung area ko ay marami dapat ang tourists pero wala nang masyadong tao.... Medyo creepy and scary," Rodriguez said.
He added that posts on social media about on-site reports caused further disquiet in affected communities.
"While it's happening, you can see some social media posts galing dun mismo sa theater kung saan sila pinapatay and they are asking for help. May nag-post dun na sinasabing nakatakbo siya sa first floor and may tama siya pero buhay siya and sana pumunta yung mga rescuer," Rodriguez said.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far, Villanueva cited a report from the Ministry of Interior stating that the attacks were coordinated.
"Itong pag-atake ng mga 'to, parang meron silang command na sabay-sabay nilang ginawa para malito yung mga awtoridad," he said.
Villanueva pointed out that the attack during the "Eagles of Death Metal" concert at the Bataclan hall in Central Paris may indicate an extremist intent.
"Nung pumasok dun sa loob yung mga suspect, bago sila namaril, sumigaw sila ng 'God is great'. Kumbaga sabi nila sa Arabic ay 'Allahu akhbar', saka sila namaril," he said.
"Ngayong araw na ito, naganap rin yung pambobomba dun sa Syria, na pinapaniwalaang ikinasawi na rin nung isa sa mga jihadist na Briton. Parang pinalalabas nila ngayon na retaliation yan. 'Di naman nila masabi, wala pa kasing umaako ... na Islamist group," Villanueva added.
Philippine Ambassador to France H.E. Ma. Theresa Lazaro said that so far, none of the 10 to 12,000 Filipinos in Paris were reported hurt in the attacks.
"Hinihingi pa lang namin yung nationalities nung mga nasawi at meron pa raw 200 na mga nasaktan o wounded ... Sa totoo lang ho, wala pa ho silang maibibigay sa aming impormasyon," Lazaro told Balitanghali in a separate interview.
Lazaro advised Filipinos in Paris to stay put and keep in touch with the Embassy through +33-620-5925-15 and +33144145700.

"Stay at home, avoid unnecessary movement, stay vigilant, at tayo po'y sumunod sa mga awtoridad. Ito po so far ang naibigay naming instructions sa mga kababayan natin," she said.
Hollande has declared a state of emergency and all security forces in the city were on full alert status.
Meanwhile, police continue their street rounds both as precautionary measure and to track down the remaining suspects after eight of the attackers were reported killed. — LBG, GMA News

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