7 Filipinos safe from massive fire in Maldives

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2019   •   231

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said all seven Filipinos who were residing in the buildings engulfed by a massive fire in the Maldives are safe.

The Philippine Embassy in Bangladesh, according to the DFA, is now closely monitoring the aftermath of the incident which broke out on Friday night (September 20) in Maldives’ capital Malé.

According to authorities, the fire displaced more than a hundred residents.

Ambassador to Bangladesh Vicente Vivencio Bandillo said that the Philippine Consulate in Malé is closely monitoring the situation.

Justice sought for Filipina who jumped off a building in Abu Dhabi

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

Kin of Mary Jean Balag-ey-Alberto cry for justice after the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) fell to her death from the 13th floor of a building in Abu Dhabi where she had been working.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assured the grieving family of Filipina worker, Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto, that the agency is closely monitoring the development of her case together with local authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

Alberto reportedly died on October 2 when she allegedly jumped off the 13th floor of a building in Abu Dhabi where she had been working.

“The Department shall respond appropriately once the results of the forensic investigation are released,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.

In a statement, the DFA said the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) and the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi are in coordination with Alberto’s family.

Specifically, Embassy representatives assisted Alberto’s daughter in a case conference with the concerned UAE authorities and a lawyer was retained to personally pursue immediate legal steps to ensure that justice for the death of the Filipina worker would be served.

According to UAE authorities, Alberto committed suicide but her family is seeking the truth on a possible foul play regarding her death.

“The Department is extending all assistance necessary in the immediate resolution of the case, as well as in the repatriation of Ms. Alberto’s remains to the Philippines,” the DFA in the statement concluded.

PH Embassy retains lawyer for Pinay worker case in Abu Dhabi

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto

The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi has retained a lawyer for the case of overseas Filipino worker Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto who died in Abu Dhabi on October 2.

“The Embassy now retains a lawyer to pursue immediate legal steps in connection with the death of Alberto,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement reads.

Based on reports from local authorities in Abu Dhabi, Alberto reportedly jumped from the building where she worked.

Foreign Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said the department is already in coordination with the family of Alberto.

“The Department shall respond appropriately once the results of the forensic investigation are released,” she said.

“The Department is extending all assistance necessary in the immediate resolution of the case, as well as in the repatriation of Ms. Alberto’s remains to the Philippines,” the statement added.—AAC

DFA reminds Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to follow rules on public decency

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019

Street vendors wait for customers at Al-Balad market in the old city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 05 September 2017. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reminds Filipinos traveling to Saudi Arabia to follow the kingdom’s new rules on public decency.

In an advisory, the DFA noted the 19 offenses identified in Saudi Arabian government’s new regulation that are punishable by fines:

  • Indecent behavior that includes any act of sexual nature.
  • Playing music in high volume without obtaining prior approval, and a comment is made by one or more residents.
  • Playing music during prayer times.
  • Non-removal of pet excrement by owner.
  • Littering in non-designated areas and spitting.
  • Occupying the seats and facilities designated for the elderly and the disabled.
  • Bypassing barriers to access public places.
  • Wearing improper clothing in public places. Dress code for visitors to Saudi Arabia shall be in accordance with the standards set for such purpose.
  • Dressed only in underwear or sleepwear.
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears profane language or obscene images or symbols.
  • Wearing in public places clothing that bears languages, images or symbols that encourage discrimination or racism, or promote porn or drug use.
  • Writing or drawing or any other similar act, without authorization on public transportation vehicles and on public walls.
  • Placing slogans or images on public transportation vehicles that encourage racism, promote porn or advocate drug use.
  • Placing commercial labels and distributing flyers in public places without permission.
  • Igniting fires in non-designated areas in parks and public places.
  • Any act, whether physical or verbal that may harm, frighten or endanger any individual in a public place.
  • Skipping waiting lines in public places, unless permitted.
  • Exposing people in public places to harmful lighting such as laser beams, that may harm, frighten or endanger such people.
  • Taking pictures or videos of people, traffic accidents, crimes or other incidents without permission. The images taken shall be deleted

“The new regulation helps ensure that travelers to Saudi Arabia are reminded of laws that concern public behavior, including rules on immodest clothing, public display of affection, taking photos or videos of people without permission, playing music at prayer times, among others,” the DFA said in a statement.

The department urged Filipino travelers to familiarize themselves with Saudi public decency laws to avoid violations.

The DFA said that the Saudi Arabian government has identified the Saudi Police as the sole authority responsible for monitoring offenses and imposing fines.

“Offenders have the right to submit a grievance claim before the Common Courtesy Department and to appeal any penalties. Any person harmed by offenders shall have the right to file a lawsuit,” the DFA noted.

Click this link for the complete list of public decency offenses and their corresponding fines.

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