People laid flowers and lit candles for Jastine Valdez during a vigil in her hometown of Wicklow.
LIMERICK, Ireland – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday that the remains of 24-year-old Filipino student, Jastine Valdez has been found.
The Philippine Embassy in London said Valdez had just left her home in Wicklow country when she was reportedly abducted by a 40-year old man identified as Mark Hennessy.
The victim was last seen on Saturday being dragged inside a black Nissan car. The Irish Times reported that Valdez was killed several minutes later, allegedly due to strangulation. On Sunday, the suspect was killed after he resisted arrest.
The Filipino community held a vigil in memory of Jastine. Some of her friends condemned her brutal death.
“It just made me feel very sad. Because it shouldn’t happen to anyone especially to her. She only came here three years ago and she came here to work hard,” said Valdez’ friend Estefanie Rosetes.
“We went here to work and we know it is really safe. Sa nangyaring ito, malaki siyang change sa way of living namin dito (This incident changes our way of living here),” said May Erika Quiambao, Valdez’ Filipina friend.
In a statement, DFA has expressed condolences to the family of Jastine and confirmed that Honorary Consul Mark Congdon is set to meet with the family to discuss the assistance the Philippine government can provide. The Valdez family refused to grant an interview and requested privacy.
Meanwhile, Irish Lawmaker John Brady joined the vigil to express his condolences to the family and the Filipino community in Ireland.
“I think the entire Irish population is absolutely appalled by what happened. There is a real sense of loss, of tragedy within the community area…Just to show our support first to the Valdez family. We really feel a sense of loss as a community and secondly, to the entire Filipino community,” Brady said.
The investigation on the killing is still ongoing. – Cynthia Brul / Marje Pelayo
DFA draws flak for thousands of ‘unavailable’ passport appointment slots
Department of Foreign Affairs facade
MANILA, Philippines – Many Filipinos were overjoyed after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Thursday, June 14, that it would be opening 100,000 appointment slots for passport applications.
However, the campaign drew flak from netizens just a night after the announcement. A number of passport applicants vented their anger and dismay on social media because, after so many months of waiting, they still haven’t had the chance to book for an appointment.
On DFA’s official Facebook page, a various speculations and accusations were posted.
One doubted if the number of opened slots were indeed 100,000.
Some accused travel agencies of hoarding the appointment slots.
One netizen alleged that an appointment slot is being sold for P5,000.
One suggested it is better to revert to the walk-in application so that applicants will be forced to come early at consular offices.
DFA is yet to comment on the complaints. — Nel Maribojoc
DFA opens 100,000 passport appointment slots, launches e-payment system
PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has made available 100,000 appointment slots for passport applications on June 14; fifty thousand of which were opened at exactly 9:00 p.m.
The DFA also vowed to open 10,000 slots everyday from Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays.
Meanwhile, the agency is still investigating employees who are said to be conspiring with a syndicate that sells passport appointment slots.
“Whether sa Facebook niyo nakita , sa text o anuman, kapag may nag-offer sa inyo na may bayad, mapapabilis ang passport, ipaalam niyo sa amin para ma-entrap natin,” said DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
On Thursday, June 14, DFA also launched the passport e-payment system in its consular office in ASEANA Pasay City.
The agency targets to implement the system in the entire National Capital Region (NCR) next month and eventually nationwide come August.
The system is expected to make the passport application process more efficient and faster. Applicants just need to log on to www.passport.gov.ph and secure an appointment slot. Move to the next step and choose your preferred payment center. Once paid, you will receive an acknowledgement through e-mail. Applicants should arrive on the appointment date and present the required documents for passport application.
DFA said there are no changes in the rate of passport application except for the P50 additional charge if you choose to pay via payment center.
The agency is confident that the e-payment scheme will help curb selling of appointment slots and will also “discourage or minimize the hoarding of appointment slots,” according to DFA Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
DFA: PH territories in WPS are protected
FILE PHOTO: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015.
REUTERS/U.S. NAVY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assured the Filipino people that the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea are safe.
This, after the recent incident of harassment by Chinese forces against Filipino soldiers who were on a resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal on May 11.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said the Philippines and China are in serious talks at present also because of some incidents that sparked tension in the region such as the installation of missiles in Spratlys Island.
“We continue to ensure that our areas of cooperation especially with China are protected safety of the seas, the safety of travel, oil and gas, fisheries and environmental concerns…So we continue to assure you that we continue to engage in very serious conversations,” said Abella. – UNTV News & Rescue