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

Robie de Guzman   •   November 14, 2019   •   205

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.

DFA reminds Filipinos: Don’t bring animal products to South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

Quarantine workers spray disinfectant at Incheon International Airport, in Incheon, South Korea, 21 January 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday reminded Filipinos that bringing of animal or livestock products to South Korea is prohibited.

The DFA issued the reminder after a Filipino traveler was issued a five-year entry ban for “failing to pay the fine amounting ₩5,000,000.00 (PHP219,907.87) for bringing pork sausages at the airport.”

The Filipino traveler came to South Korea last October 21, 2019.

“This shows how stringent the South Korean authorities are regarding the enforcement of the regulation,” the DFA said.

The agency, through the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, reiterates that under South Korea’s Law on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Disease, and pursuant to the advisories from South Korean government agencies, carrying animal or livestock products is restricted, adding that products should be reported and declared at the quarantine office of the port of entry.

Policy violators will be fined up to ₩10,000,000.00 (PHP439,815.73), and those who fail to pay the fine will be banned from entering South Korea.

The DFA also advised Filipinos entering South Korea as visitors, workers or residents to refrain from bringing restricted items in their hand-carry or checked-in luggage.

“All hand-carry and checked-in luggage of passengers are subjected to security screening at the airport terminals,” the agency added.

Two Filipinos trafficked into Iraq back in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

DFA-OUMWA welcomes home two more Filipinos from Baghdad, Iraq. Both are victims of human trafficking. The Philippine government shouldered their airfare and exit visa. Fifteen Filipinos have been brought home since mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in Iraq was declared on January 8, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipino women who were trafficked into Iraq have returned to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

In a statement, the DFA said the two females who repatriated from Baghdad, Iraq arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday afternoon.

Department representatives welcomed the two repatriates who were both victims of human trafficking.

The DFA said a total of 15 Filipinos have been brought home since the government ordered for mandatory repatriation of Filipino workers in Iraq last January 8.

The mandatory evacuation order was triggered by the hoisting of alert level 4 due to the security threats in the Middle East.

The alert level for Filipinos in Iraq was raised after Iran launched a series of ballistic missile attacks on Iraq’s bases, where US forces were located.

Iran’s firing of rockets was in retaliation for the death of top military general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last January 3.

On the same day, more than 170 passengers were killed after Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane while on alert after its missile attack against US forces.

30 Filipinos repatriated from Haiti amid civil unrest

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

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.

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