DFA advises Filipinos in Tunisia to remain vigilant after blasts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2019   •   843

Image by @natanaelginting from freepik

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised Filipinos in Tunisia to remain vigilant after reports of two explosions on Thursday (June 27).

According to initial reports, one explosion involved a suicide bomber near the French Embassy and the Headquarters of the Anti-Terrorist Police. The second blast reportedly came from a car bomb.

The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli call on Filipinos to avoid the affected areas for their safety.

“The Embassy requests all Filipino nationals in Tunis to remain vigilant, avoid these areas and take the necessary precautions,” their statement reads.

Filipnos who need assistance can contact the Interim Legation and the Philippine Consulate in Tunis may be reached at +216 50 926 251.—AAC

DFA signs deal for first e-passport renewal center in Dubai

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a private firm to establish the first electronic passport (e-passport) renewal center (PaRC) at a mall in Dubai.

In a statement, the DFA said the launch of the PaRC will allow Filipinos in Dubai and Northern Emirates to choose between applying for the renewal of their passport at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai or at the center.

“Those who avail of the services at PaRC will pay an additional convenience fee on top of the normal cost of passport renewal that they pay at the Consulate General or at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi,” the statement read.

“The PaRC will only cater to simple passport renewal services that do not require any changes in the biographic details of the passport holder,” it added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and VFS Global head of business development Chris Dez witnessed the signing of the agreement, which coincided with the inauguration of the PaRC at the Dubai Health Care City.

The establishment of the e-passport renewal center aims to provide an alternative means for Filipinos to avail of passport renewal services in two of the Middle East countries with the highest concentration of Filipino workers—the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time that the Philippine government has outsourced part of its renewal of passport application service to a private entity.

The department said the outsourcing to VFS Global only applies to the frontline operation of passport renewal application such as the “acceptance of application, capturing of biometrics and biographical details, payment of fees, and release of passport.”

“It should be noted that the actual production of passport is still with the DFA,” it said.

The United Arab Emirates is the second-largest concentration of Filipino workers in the Middle East with around 600,000 Filipinos living and working there.

The DFA said other PaRCs will be opened in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020.

DFA consular services in Isabela suspended on Friday due to TS ‘Ramon’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday announced that consular services in its office in Isabela will be suspended on Friday, Nov. 15.

In an advisory, the DFA said the suspension of consular operations is in anticipation of the possible landfall of Tropical Storm ‘Ramon.’

The department added that this is also pursuant to the order of the provincial government to suspend work in government and private offices, as well as, classes in all levels in public and private schools to ensure the public’s safety.

Applicants with confirmed appointments who will be unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations will be accommodated until Friday, 13 December 2019 during regular office hours,” the DFA said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier said ‘Ramon’ is expected to make landfall anytime during the weekend.

In its 5 p.m. update, PAGASA said ‘Ramon’ was last spotted 500 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

The storm is moving north northwest at the speed of 15 kph.

Catanduanes remains under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) Number 2 while the eastern part of Isabela, including Divilacan, Palanan and Dinapigue; Northern Aurora, including Dilasag, Casiguran, and Dinalungan; Polillo Island, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Albay are under signal no. 1.

PAGASA said that on Friday, light to moderate with occasional heavy rains may prevail over the eastern parts of Cagayan and Isabela while Northern Aurora, Camarines Norte, and Polillo Island will experience light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains.

On Saturday, light to moderate to occasionally heavy rains may be experienced over Cagayan, Northern Aurora, and the eastern portion of Isabela.

Light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains over Apayao and the rest of Isabela and Aurora.

The state weather bureau also advised residents in the said areas, especially those living in areas identified to be highly susceptible to flooding and rain-induced landslides, to take precautionary measures, coordinate with respective local disaster offices, and continue monitoring for weather updates from the state weather bureau.

Sea travel remains also risky, especially for small sea crafts, over the seaboards of areas under TCWS, the seaboards of Northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon due to prevailing or forecast rough sea conditions.

No Filipinos injured in bushfires in Australia – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters conduct property protection as a bushfire burns close to homes on Railway Parade in Woodford, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 08 November 2019. Hot, windy conditions have seen bushfires burn out of control across parts of New South Wales, with 15 emergency warnings currently in effect in the state. EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS

MANILA, Philippines – No Filipinos were injured in the bushfires that razed parts of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

The DFA said the information was based on reports from the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney, and Honorary Consulates in Brisbane and Perth.

“The DFA is closely monitoring the situation in the affected areas and is coordinating with various agencies and Filipino community leaders in Australia to ascertain the safety and welfare of Filipino nationals,” it said in a statement.

Bushfires that broke out in northern New South Wales and Queensland over the weekend killed three people and destroyed over 100 homes. A state of emergency has been declared in the said areas.  

The DFA urged Filipinos in bushfire-hit areas to heed the instructions of Australian authorities and to take necessary precautions for their safety.

Filipinos requiring assistance are advised to contact the respective Consulate with jurisdiction over their area.

Contact details are available at https://www.philembassy.org.au/offices/sydney-pcg-nsw.

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