President Corazon Aquino declared a nationwide state of emergency today after tourists and foreign residents fled the capital's financial center to escape the bloody attempt to topple her government.
In a separate mandate, government officials unveiled new restrictions prohibiting radio and TV stations from airing "rebellious, terrorist propaganda" and strategic government information including troop movements, numbers and description of weapons.
It also banned the broadcast of false information "to incite, encourage, or assist in subversive or treasonable acts."
Aquino's unexpected move coincided with a last-ditch effort between government and rebel negotiators to reach a peaceful solution to the sixth and most serious coup attempt since she became president in February, 1986.
"The rebellion has resulted in senseless loss of lives, destruction of property and serious social and economic damage," Aquino said in announcing the government was temporarily taking over operations of any privately owned public utility or business affecting public interest.
"This is not martial law," said presidential spokesman Adolf Azcuna. "We acknowledge we have an emergency now because of the attempted coup and there is a need for extraordinary measures to respond accordingly."
He said there would be no curfew or suspension of Congress and Aquino's assumption of the limited powers was temporary "while there is still danger because the rebels have not been completely subdued."
In her announcement, Aquino said: "While the rebellion has been contained, some remnants continue to operate in certain areas. The activities of rebel groups still holed up in key financial and commercial centers of the country are causing serious destabilization."
Aquino's action, which took effect immediately, is allowed by the constitution under emergency conditions and was endorsed today by 22 members of the 23-member Senate.
Opposition Congressman Rodolfo Albano called the state of emergency "a joke."
"It's an excuse to close down radio stations and newspapers that are against Aquino's policies," he said. "The emergency declaration is just conditioning the minds of the people for the eventual declaration of martial law."
At least 76 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and 553 wounded since the insurgency began.
A cease-fire went into effect early today, when rebels who had barricaded themselves in hotels in the posh Makati financial district allowed about 2,000 trapped tourists, many of them Americans, and foreign residents to flee.
After the evacuation, both sides pursued peace talks at Makati's Inter-Continental hotel.
"The talks . . . will continue tomorrow and the cease-fire will hold through the night," said Capt. G. S. Pangilinan, a government spokesman.