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DFA raises alert level 3 in Tripoli, Libya

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday raised the alert level from two to three in Tripoli and nearby districts amid the escalating violence in Libya.

“I have raised the alert level in Libya to 3 but only for Tripoli and adjacent districts plus a 100 km radius,” DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. announced in his official Twitter account.

The Philippine Embassy in Libya said the alert level covers Filipinos working and living in Tripoli, as well as in Tahoura, Ghot Romman, Qaraboli, Qasr Khiyar, Esbea, Tarhuna, Bani Waled, Gharyan, Aziziya, Warshifana, Zawia, Surman and Sabratha.

Alert level 3 or voluntary repatriation phase means that Filipinos working in the specified areas but are currently in the Philippines will not be allowed to travel back to Libya until the situation returns to normal.

In an advisory, the embassy renewed its call to Filipinos working within the 100-kilometer radius of the Libyan capital to observe extreme caution and avail of the government’s offer of repatriation amid escalating tensions.

The department has assured to extend assistance to Filipinos who will avail of the repatriation program.

For Filipinos who chose to stay, the embassy has asked them to move to safer locations and to stay away from areas where fighting is taking place.

The DFA also strongly advises Filipinos “against taking part or even going near any public demonstrations or armed formations” and from making comments on social media about Libya’s political situation.

Filipinos in need of emergency shelter are also urged to call the embassy for assistance.

“The Embassy will remain open to respond to requests for assistance from Filipinos who might be affected by the fighting,” the DFA said.

There are 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli and nearby areas, based on DFA’s estimates.

For urgent assistance, Filipinos in Libya may contact the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli through the number +218-91-824-4208 or through the official Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in Libya. – Robie de Guzman

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11 more Filipinos to arrive home from Libya

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

More Filipinos in war-torn Libya will be repatriated to the Philippines, Philippine Chargè d’Affaires Elmer Cato said on Friday.

In a post on Twitter, Cato said 11 more Filipinos have been evacuated from the Libyan capital of Tripoli, bringing the number of Filipinos aided by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials to 55 since the latest conflict erupted last month.

“Another 11 of our kababayan were evacuated from Tripoli this morning by @PhinLibya, bringing to 55 the number of Filipinos assisted by @DFAPHL and @doleph in returning to the Philippines since latest conflict in Libya broke out on 4 April,” Cato said.

The DFA recently enforced a mandatory evacuation of Filipino workers in Tripoli and other areas within a 100-kilometer radius from the capital.

READ: Alert level 4 raised in Libya – DFA

Cato earlier called on Filipinos working in Tripoli to heed their advice to get out of the harm’s way by availing of the repatriation program they offer.

He said the ability of the DFA officials to respond to calls for assistance by Filipinos in distress becomes more difficult or even impossible to carry out as the fighting gets closer to the capital.

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Malacañang: Recall of PH officials over trash spat, a warning to Canada

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Canadian trash illegally exported to the Philippines (left) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right)

MANILA, Philippines – The order of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada is a warning that the diplomatic relations between the two countries may be severed over a garbage spat, the Malacañang said on Thursday.

This was after the Canadian government missed the May 15 deadline to take back tons of trash it sent to Manila several years ago.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the recall order was to “maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

READ: PH recalls envoys to Canada over missed trash shipment deadline

“The fact alone that Secretary Locsin has recalled our diplomats there shows that not only are we serious, we are already warning them, we’re gonna severe diplomatic relations,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a press briefing.

Panelo added that the recall order for envoys aims to urge the Canadian government to expedite the garbage shipment process.

“That order of the recall is to persuade them to make it fast. The more the delay, the more personnel will be coming back,” he said.

Panelo on Wednesday said there might be a slight delay in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to the processing of documents. He had then surmised that the shipment of the trash might begin in “one to two weeks.”

The Canadian government earlier agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013 following a stern warning issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

READ: Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

The President had warned he would declare “war” against Canada if it fails to retrieve its illegally exported trash.

He was referring to 103 containers of Canadian mixed wastes that arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014. The trash from around 26 containers have been dumped in a private landfill in Tarlac.

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

Ottawa earlier assured Manila it is working on resolving the issue “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

There are more than 837,000 Filipinos residing and working in Canada, based on a 2016 census. Most of them are located in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Some Filipinos there have appealed to the Philippine government to reconsider its move against Canada so as not to jeopardize the relations between the two nations.

Malacañang, however, assured that the government will continue to protect the interest of Filipinos abroad no matter what the outcome of its actions will be.

“Whatever the consequence, this government will be protective of the interest of our countrymen in any part of the world,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Phl Embassy in Russia sends field voting teams in Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta has once again denied reports that the number of ballots and other election paraphernalia is not enough for the registered voters in Russia, as well as, the other states of Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Ambassador Sorreta stated that the primary problem they encountered is the distance of each country from Russia and that the Filipinos in these countries are scattered. He assured, however, that the number of ballots and election paraphernalia is enough to cover all the Filipino voters.

Aside from sending ballots through the mail, Sorreta said that the embassy has also sent field voting team to assist the Filipino voters in selecting their bets.

He added that, “Mayroon din tayong consular services na binigay. So marami po tayong nakuhang botante. Yun ho yung pinaka malaking problema. Tungkol naman po sa mga gamit, kumpleto naman po ang mga balota at mga parepernalya at mga form na pinadala ng Comelec. Yun lang po ang problema at napakalaki po ng Russia at kalat po ang Filipino sa Russia sa Armenia tsaka sa Kazakstan at sa Belarus.”

[We also provide consular services. And we have recorded a large number of voters. That’s the biggest problem. As for the (election) materials, the ballots, forms, and other paraphernalia that Comelec sent are complete. The problem is that Russia is so big and Filipinos are scattered in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.]

Russia has a total number of 2,082 registered overseas Filipino worker (OFW) voters and the majority of them are in Moscow, while the others are based in Saint Petersburg, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Yakutsk.

The embassy expects that Monday’s voter turnout will increase as this is also the last day of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), which started on April 13. (with reports from Catherine Martinez, UNTV Moscow) /mbmf

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