30 Filipinos repatriated from Haiti amid civil unrest

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020   •   238

MANILA, Philippines – Thirty Filipinos repatriated from Haiti — which was gripped by “unstable economic and security concerns” — have arrived in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

In a tweet, the DFA said the group, which included six minors, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Thursday.

The Filipinos opted to return home instead of being “adversely affected by the circumstances” in Haiti.

Since the last quarter of 2019, Haiti has been experiencing economic and security woes as a result of ongoing civil unrest.

Dozens have been killed in anti-government mass demonstrations in various cities, including its capital Port-au-Prince.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington, which has jurisdiction over the Caribbean state, facilitated the group’s repatriation.

The Consulate in New York also assisted during their transit.

The embassy assured to provide assistance to remaining Filipinos who wish to move out of Haiti.

Locsin orders immediate repatriation of Filipinos on quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has ordered the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Locsin announced he has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan to repatriate Filipinos on the ship after its passengers who tested negative for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were allowed to disembark after the 14-day quarantine period.

“I have ordered our Tokyo Embassy to immediately repatriate our people in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohoma Japan. It’s our duty to take care of our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!” he said.

As of Wednesday, February 19, 41 Filipino crew members of the ship were found positive for COVID-19. Like other people on the ship confirmed to be infected with the virus, the Filipinos were brought to hospitals in Japan to undergo treatment.

The DFA earlier said there are 531 Filipino crew members and seven passengers aboard the quarantined cruise ship. Around 400 of them have expressed their desire to be repatriated to the Philippines.

The department said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything would be smooth once the repatriation process begins.

DFA chief signs VFA termination notice

Maris Federez   •   February 11, 2020

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday (Feb. 11) signed the termination notice for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States.

Locsin said the notice, which will take effect after 180 days, was already sent to the US Embassy and was received by the deputy chief of mission.

“The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. As a diplomatic courtesy, there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development,” the DFA chief said.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay confirmed that Locsin has signed the termination notice upon the directive of the president.

“On the order of the President [Rodrigo Duterte] thru Executive Secretary [Salvador] Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin signed today the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which will [be] delivered to the US Embassy in Manila forthwith,” Dulay said.

The DFA move comes barely a week after Locsin said in his opening remarks at a Senate hearing that abrogating the VFA might have a negative impact on the relationship between the country and the US, pointing out that a vigorous review of the military agreement is called for.

On January 23, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an ultimatum to the US government to rectify the visa cancellation of his long time ally Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa within 30 days or he would abrogate the two-decade-old military accord. — /mbmf

DFA: No Filipino harmed in Thailand shooting incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 10, 2020

There were no Filipino nationals harmed during the shooting incident in Thailand, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

In a statement, the DFA said no one from the nine reported Filipinos was harmed when a shooting incident occurred in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand, from the evening of February 8 until the early morning of February 9.

“The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok dispatched First Secretary and Consul General Val Roque posthaste to Nakhon Ratchasima to check on nine Filipinos who were reported to have been trapped in the mall at the time of the incident and had been able to escape and confirmed to be well and safe,” the statement reads.

The Philippine government and the Filipino people, meanwhile, offer their condolences to the Thai people, and in particular to the victims and their loved ones.—AAC

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