DFA announces adjustments in passport delivery, release

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2019   •   871

Philippine passports

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA) issued an advisory on Sunday (August 18) regarding adjustments on delivery and release of passports due to system upgrade.

In its advisory, the DFA said the system upgrade in its ePassport system takes effect immediately until September 2019 when the upgrading process is expected to complete.

Once the system is improved, the DFA said, regular passport processing will now take 15 working days instead of the current 12 working days for all consular offices (CO) nationwide.

Expedited processing, meanwhile, will now take eight working days for applications processed at DFA Aseana and CO in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Applications processed in COs outside the NCR will take 10 working days, once the system resumes operation.

DFA consular office operations suspended on Feb. 25

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, February 21 announced that operations at all its consular offices will be suspended on Tuesday, February 25.

In an advisory, the DFA said the suspension of operations, including the one in Aseana Business Park, is in observance of the anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, which is declared as a special non-working holiday.   

Applicants with confirmed appointments who will be unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations will be accommodated until March 25 during regular hours, except on Saturdays.

Regular operations and services will resume on Wednesday, February 26, according to the DFA.

Applicants with emergencies may email oca.concerns@dfa.gov.ph for their concerns, it added.

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

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