DFA files two protest vs China for “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard”

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 3, 2021   •   300

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed two protests against China for the continuous presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, and its “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard.”

In a statement, the DFA said it has protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc.

The department also mentioned in its protest “the incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones.”

“From January 1 to March 18, 2021, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the continued unauthorized presence and activities of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the areas around the Pag-asa Islands, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll, and Bajo de Masinloc,” the statement said.

The department also rejects the statement of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 April 2021 that China enjoys sovereignty over Bajo de Masinloc, reiterating that such statement has no “basis in international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is not recognized by the international community.”

The DFA further emphasized that “the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

It also reiterated that China has no law enforcement rights in these areas.

The DFA also called on China “to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc and respect Philippine sovereignty.” AAC

PH Coast Guard to conduct maritime exercises in Southern Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is conducting maritime exercises in the waters of Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi from June 21 to June 27.

The exercises will gauge the capability of PCG’s recently acquired ship-based and coastal monitoring and communications capabilities for search and rescue (SAR) and law enforcement.

“Rest assured we will sustain our previous efforts in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the frontiers where we are needed most,” said PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia.

The exercises will be held along Sibutu Passage and Basilan Strait where series of kidnapping and piracy incidents were reported in previous years.

This effort, Ursabia said, is to ensure the safety and protection of the Philippine maritime jurisdiction.

“Moreso, vessel traffic monitoring and search and rescue facilities at the Sibutu passage and Basilan Straits are now in place. Vessels transiting this area are already better assured that a PCG unit can hear their distress calls from up to a hundred miles away,” he said.

All vessels to be used in the exercises have already been positioned at Sibutu Passage and Basilan Strait to provide rescue assistance in case of emergency. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

DFA logs two new COVID cases among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported two new COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad.

Likewise, three overseas Filipino workers (OFW) recovered from the infection and no new fatalities were recorded.

Overall, DFA logged a total of 20,424 cases of COVID-19 among Filipinos from different parts of the world.

Of this number, 7,108 are currently undergoing treatment.

Also, 12,096 recovered and a total of 1,220 succumbed to the disease in all 94 countries and territories around the globe.

DFA facilitates return of over 300 distressed OFWs from UAE

Maris Federez   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 325 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFW) arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 on Thursday (June 17), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The DFA said this was the third flight from UAE especially chartered by the department this year through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) using the DFA’s Assistance to National Fund.

The DFA-OUMWA welcomed the latest group of repatriates, which included 88 pregnant distressed overseas Filipinos upon their arrival in Manila.

“To our kababayan in distress, we hear you. We are here for you,” stated DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, stressing her vow to continue providing assistance to all OFWs in need.

“This recent arrival is a clear testament of our commitment to bring you home,” she added.

The DFA said that through the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, the department will continue to accept applications for future repatriations from the UAE.

The previous chartered flight from the UAE last 31 June 2021, brought home 396 overseas Filipinos.

In conformity with health protocols set by the Department of Health (DOH) – Bureau of Quarantine, the repatriates will undergo stringent facility-based quarantine provided by the Philippine government. They shall also be subjected to RT-PCR Testing for COVID19.

The Philippine government upholds the One-Country Team Approach by continuously collaborating and cooperating with the DOH, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine Coast Guard to ensure the safety and welfare of our Kababayans, the DFA said. —/mbmf

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