By Joyce Pangco Panares | May. 26, 2014 at 12:01am

THE Philippines on Sunday added its voice to the growing call from the international community to the Thai junta to restore the civilian authority immediately.

“As a friend and fellow Asean member, the Philippines hopes the Thai people will be able to resolve this latest political challenge peacefully through dialogue and in the spirit of national harmony,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

“The Philippines likewise hopes that the present authorities will honor their commitment to respect democratic principles and human rights at all times and will restore civilian authority.”

The military coup led by tough-talking Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha has drawn sharp rebukes from Washington, Europe and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, who have all called for civilian control to be restored.

The junta has suspended most of the Constitution and imposed and a night-time curfew. It has also detained former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other government officials at an undisclosed facility.

The United States has already announced the suspension of $3.5 million in military assistance to Thailand to denounce the coup.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure the safety of at least 15,000 Filipinos in Thailand who may be evacuated if the security situation deteriorates further.

Foreign Affairs has already raised its alert level in Thailand from 1 (precautionary phase) to 2 (restriction phase), calling on the Filipinos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas to “restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places and prepare for possible evacuation when necessary.”

The Philippines earlier lowered the alert level from 2 to 1 after a 60-day state of emergency was lifted by the Thai government.

But the Thai military decided to impose Martial Law after Yingluck’s dismissal by a local court who found her guilty of abuse of power.

The violent protests in Thailand have left at least 30 people dead since November.

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