As the sun set on the Thai Government House this July, the countdown ticked for the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, Prawit Wongsuwon. The enduring image captured in a Bangkok Post file photo will be one of the defining moments of his tenure.
One of the top decisions during his term, the imposition of an emergency decree on the three southern border provinces – Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat – is set to continue.
This Monday saw the committee for the administration of the emergency situation convene via a virtual conference. At the helm was Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who managed the meeting remotely from the Five Provinces Bordering Forest Preservation Foundation’s office. The verdict? To extend the decree for a further three months, stretching from September 20th to December 19th, 2023.
First-person accounts paint a vivid picture, relayed via Lieutenant General Pacharasak Patirupanon, the assistant spokesman for General Prawit. The emergency decree permeates nearly every corner of the three provinces. It exempts select districts in Narathiwat like Si Sakhon, Sungai Kolok, Waeng, and Sukhirin. Even parts of Pattani such as Yaring, Mayom Mai Kaen and in Yala’s Betong, and Kabang districts. But everywhere else, the decree is as present as the air the residents breathe.
The committee’s decision to sustain the emergency decree in the southern provinces wasn’t a whimsical whim. This would be the 73rd extension. The primary purpose remains the consistent operation of the government in dealing with the insurgency. Furthermore, it aims to safeguard peace and security. The lives and property of the people held in the balance hinge on this decree’s continuation.
The passing resolution will now set a course towards the National Security Council and the cabinet, awaiting their approval to finalize the extension.
In addition to this, the meeting saw approval of a proposal from the Internal Security Command Region 4. The proposal aimed to withdraw the Kapho district of Pattani from the emergency decree’s area of influence. This change could potentially mark the beginning of a new chapter for the district and its inhabitants.
As the sun rises and sets daily, so does the story of these provinces under the emergency decree. The coming months promise a continuation of this story, as the power players make their moves, dynamic decisive decisions, and the world watches with bated breath.