Pinoys in France urged to stay indoors after Bastille Day attack
Filipinos residing in or visiting France, particularly Nice, have been advised to stay inside their homes or hotels, following the attack on Bastille Day that killed at least 80 people and left over a hundred injured.
In an interview with Balitanghali on Friday, Aileen Mendiola-Rau, Philippine consul general in Paris, said French authorities have asked people to stay away from large crowds and if possible to just stay indoors.
"Kung maaari, lalo na 'yung mga nasa Nice, kung puwede 'wag muna lumabas... 'Yung sa security dapat magmasid at 'wag muna pumunta sa mataong lugar," she said.
The driver was said to have opened fire before police shot him dead. Weapons and grenades were found inside the 25-ton, unmarked truck.
French President Francois Hollande has extended the country's state of emergency for three months.
Rau said the Consulate has yet to receive reports on whether there were Filipinos among the casualties. French authorities are still verifying details.
"Kakakausap ko lang sa ilang opisyal ng French government para nagtanong kung may Filipino man na involved na fatality o kaya na-injure. Ang sabi nila sa akin magbibigay sila ng mga pangalan at nationality kasi nasa proseso pa sila na nagbe-verify pa sila at mas gusto na masiguro kung tama 'yung mga pangalan saka nationalities na ire-release nila sa media," she said.
In Manila, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said they, too, have yet to receive information of any Filipino casualties.
“So far we have not received report of any Filipinos among those injured,” Jose said.
As for Filipino tourists in Paris and in Nice, Rau said they have received word that they are now safe in their hotels.
"So far, ngayon nababalitaan namin na bumalik sila sa kanilang mga hotel at inaabisuhan natin sila na kung puwede 'wag na muna silang lumabas... Maski ang gobyerno, sinasabi na 'wag munang pagala-gala," she said.
She also called on Filipinos in the area to report to the Consulate about their situation if possible.
Rau said the mood is somber in the country after the attack, which came about eight months after Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris.
"Siyempre medyo malungkot kasi hindi inaasahan ito," she said.
In a separate interview, GMA News stringer Dick Villanueva quoted the French police prefecture as saying an identification card of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian resident in Nice was found in the truck.
Authorities are still looking into whether it belonged to the driver, or if he had company during the attack.
He said Filipinos in Paris walked home from the Eiffel Tower after watching Bastille Day fireworks because of the volume of vehicles around the area. They were not immediately aware of the attack in the south of France, as the fireworks displays were done simultaneously.
"'Yung mga nanood dito sa Paris, wala silang kamalay malay sa mga nangyari. Nalaman lang nila after ng fireworks na nagkaroon ng pag-atake. Ang mga kababayan dito ay naalarma, natatakot, nabulabog," Villanueva said. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino with Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena/KBK/RSJ, GMA News