163 Filipino crew of stranded cruise ship in Norway all safe: DFA
Robie de Guzman • March 25, 2019 • 2083
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) continues to closely monitor the rescue operations for the passengers of a cruise ship that was stranded off the coast of Norway.
In a statement on Sunday (March 24), the DFA said all 163 Filipino crew members of the cruise ship, Viking Sky, are safe and are helping in the evacuation of passengers
“The Philippine Embassy in Oslo, which is in touch with Viking Cruises and the Norwegian Rescue Center, reported that the ship’s 163 Filipino crew members are all safe and are helping evacuate passengers,” the DFA added.
Passengers also praised the efficiency and helpfulness of the ship’s Filipino crew in the evacuation, the Philippine Embassy in Norway said.
On Saturday, the Viking Sky sent a distress signal off the coast of Norway after it encountered engine problems in rough seas that caused it to drift toward the rocky shore.
479 people, mostly senior citizens, were airlifted by Rescue Services. Some 20 passengers had been taken to hospital while others only suffered minor injuries, the Viking Cruise ship management said.
There were 1,373 passengers aboard the luxury ship the but none were Filipinos, the DFA said.
Report from Norwegian authorities said the luxury ship had restarted and is now moving at a slow pace. Tug boats are currently trying to move the Viking Sky to shore as three of the cruise ship’s four engines working. – Robie de Guzman
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to proceed with the investigation into a Philippine envoy’s alleged maltreatment of her service staff in Brazil, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Thursday.
“In light of the gravity of the allegations against the ambassador, the President has given the green light to proceed with the investigation of the official concerned, as recommended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Go said in a statement.
The DFA earlier said it needed the approval of the president to conduct a probe against Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina household service staff on several occasions.
Section 51 of the Foreign Service Act states that “Chiefs of Mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board [of Foreign Service Administration] or separated from the service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”
“The President has always been firm – the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas is a paramount responsibility of our government,” Go said.
“Our ambassadors are duty-bound to carry out this mandate, no questions asked,” he added.
Go further stated that the “impartial investigation will be carried out consistent with relevant provisions of the law, particularly the Foreign Service Act of 1991.”
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.
Mauro has been ordered to return home to face the investigation.
She has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegations.
MANILA, Philippines – Some senators are seeking a thorough investigation into the alleged maltreatment of a Filipino household worker by Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Joel Villanueva both expressed outrage, calling the actions of the country’s envoy “deplorable” and “conduct unbecoming a diplomat official.”
Mauro was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina service staff on several occasions.
The video footage was shown on the Brazilian news channel GloboNews last Sunday and was picked up by international news organizations.
“While watching the video, I was horrified to see the brazenness of our ambassador to Brazil in physically maltreating the embassy service staff. I cannot imagine how people in her position could enact such violence to the very people they are sworn to protect,” Zubiri said in a statement.
“How can we demand foreign employers of our OFWs, especially domestic helpers, to respect their rights and not maltreat them, when the very people who are supposed to protect and defend them abroad are the ones abusing them? This is such a terrible incident and a black eye on our image abroad,” he added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered Mauro to return to the Philippines and explain the matter.
Zubiri called on the DFA to immediately conduct an investigation and “prosecute the official if found violating labor laws and the Kasambahay Law.”
Villanueva also condemned the incident, stressing that the country’s embassies should be taking care of the welfare of Filipinos overseas.
“The incident should also serve notice to the diplomatic service that ‘as representatives of our country to a foreign land, one is expected to protect the well-being of our people starting with the ones at their own backyards,’” Villanueva added.
The senator also urged the DFA to examine existing grievance mechanisms in our posts to ensure that Filipinos have immediate recourse to the department’s head office in Maninla when incidents such as this happen to prevent its recurrence and escalation.
“This incident must give focus on what kind of grievance procedure our Embassies provide our OFWs. The DFA should recheck if there is an active system that actually works in providing protection to OFWs and any case of abuse and maltreatment does not go unchecked,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. on Wednesday (October 28) vowed to address ‘to the fullest extent of the law’ the incidents of physical abuse by former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro against her household staff.
In a series of tweets, Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be “firm in meting out the appropriate sanctions and administrative or criminal charges” on the former envoy if results of the investigation on the matter would demand as such.
Locsin broke the news of Mauro’s recall from post on Monday (October 26).
The incident of physical abuse by Mauro against her staff was aired over Brazilian news outlet GloboNews with dates listed on the video footage as taken in March, August and October this year.
As the Philippine Ambassador to Brazil, Mauro also held concurrent jurisdiction over Colombia and Venezuela.
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