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Over 100 Filipino victims of human trafficking in Abu Dhabi return to the Philippines

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 2 November 2017 06:40 PM


“What happened to us there was really traumatic. For me, it’s not humane, it’s slavery. We were allowed to sleep for only two hours. We are also not allowed to urinate. Our food was limited. Whatever the food they left, that’s what we can only eat,” human trafficking victim, Joan Masa said.

This has been the bitter experience of Joan Masa as a house helper in Abu Dhabi for 9 months.

Masa was a victim of an illegal recruiter in Laguna.

The said illegal recruiter offered her huge salary and a good employer — But the opposite was what happened.

Joan is just among the more than 100 distressed overseas Filipino workers the Philippine Embassy gives assistance to so they could return to the Philippines.

The government also gave each of them P15,000 worth of livelihood so they could start their own business.

“Actually the Philippine government paid for their fare, they were also given fare. These OFW’s are victims of human trafficking,” DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Usec. Sarah Lou Arriola said.

“We try to make their lives comfortable, so when they arrive here, they can have something to start new lives,” she added.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are still a lot of undocumented Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi, but they are having difficulty determining their exact number because usually enter the Middle East using tourist visas.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) believes such a system can be avoided if the implementation of the Labor Cooperation Agreement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the government of Abu Dhabi pushes through.

“Stated there is decent recruitment of the workers for UAE which means once the UAE Domestic Workers Law takes effect, like what Usec says, maybe in the first quarter of next year, all OFWs going to UAE will strictly undergo the process of the POEA strictly, there will no longer be visit and tourist visa deployment,” OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.

Based on the figures of the DFA, about 700 Filipino in Abu Dhabi were repatriated for illegal working there.

Philippine authorities continue to process the repatriation of other distressed OFWs in Abu Dhabi. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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Artistic mini golf in UAE hopes to tackle social issues

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 5 February 2019 12:04 PM

Mini golf  course | Reuters

A mini golf course is not typically surrounded by rusty metal wall sheets and loops of barbed wire, but the designer of this Dubai attraction wants players to think about global borders as they play.

At the unconventional mini golf course in the United Arab Emirates, nine artists hope to make people think about social issues.

“This is a sculpture garden. It’s a nine-hole, artist-designed mini golf course. Each of the sculptures is a playable object designed around a social, environmental or contemporary issue,” said David Darts, dean of the art faculty at New York university in Abu Dhabi and organiser of the “Putting for Pleasure and Politics” exhibition.

Wealth disparity, global warming and racial and gender injustice are some of the social issues the artists tackled in the individually designed golf holes.

“The idea is you play a round of golf and you’re confronted with an absurd version of our contemporary reality,” said Darts.

Marcus Booth, a 41-year-old lawyer who took his young daughter to the exhibition, said the course made him think more deeply about some of the issues raised.

Children were also allowed to try the mini courses and get a glimpse of the issues presented in the artworks. — Reuters

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No need for birth certificates in renewal of passports — DFA

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 08:14 AM

Philippine passport

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a new order removing the submission of birth certificates in the renewal of passports.

In a tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. said that the presentation of the old passport is “more than sufficient” when applying for a new one.

The new directive comes amid the data breach controversy hounding the department wherein its former passport printing contractor allegedly ran off with the personal information of passport holders.

The new DFA order however, states that presentation of birth certificate is still required for the following conditions:

  • First-time passport applicants
  • Applicants whose names appear on the DFA’s watchlist
  • Renewal of lost or damaged passports
  • Renewal of passport due to name change
  • Renewal of brown passports, green passports, machine readable passports (maroon) or any older passports

In an interview, Sec. Locsin asked for the public’s understanding while the department is sorting the data breach issue.

Locsin posted on Twitter that passport data is not “run-away-able” but made inaccessible.

He added that the current passport printing contractor, APO Production Unit Incorporated, assured him that they were able to access the data but most of it are already corrupted.

Former DFA secretary Perfecto Yasay had earlier said that Locsin was “misinformed” and his accusations against the former contractor are false and malicious. — Joan Nano | UNTV News and Rescue

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DFA warns Filipinos in Libya to be vigilant after suicide bomb attack

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 09:02 AM

Libyan Foreign Ministry building on fire after a suicide bomb incident on Tuesday (December 25). Photo: Reuters

TRIPOLI, Libya – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli has advised Filipinos in the country to be vigilant following the recent suicide bomb attack at Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (December 25).

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the Embassy “wishes to reiterate to the public to take the necessary precaution” following the incident.

“The Embassy advises the public to continue to take utmost care and precaution, stay indoors as much as possible, and avoid all but the most necessary movements,” the statement further read.

Three suicide bombers attacked Libya’s foreign ministry killing at least two other people dead as well as themselves, according to authorities.

Health officials said at least 21 people were injured in the incident.

Witnesses accounts said the attackers began their assault with a car bomb, damaging vehicles and buildings, and then opened fire on the ministry.

Two managed to get inside and blow themselves up. The other was killed by ministry guards.

Interior Minister Fathi Ali Bashagha said investigations were continuing into the identity of the assailants.

He said security chaos in Libya offered favorable conditions for Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

“It is clear that this is a terrorist attack. So far no party has claimed responsibility for the attack. This terrorist attack will not stop us from progressing and building the nation. There need to be committees to investigate the weakened security and to implement security plans in order to be able to overcome the weakened security situation,” the Minister said in Arabic.

IS has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by U.S. air strikes.

Following the suicide attack, the Philippines Embassy encourages Filipino nationals in Libya to communicate as it opens its lines “for whatever assistance they may need and that full staff complement is in Tripoli and ready to assist the community for any eventuality.”

“The Embassy requests the community’s support in reporting any incident involving Filipino nationals,” the Embassy said.

In the event of emergency, Filipinos may reach the Embassy through 0918244208 or Tripoli.PE@dfa.com. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Reuters)

Statement of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli on the recent suicide attack:


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