DFA: Search launched for Filipinos missing in Beirut blast
Marje Pelayo • August 5, 2020 • 477
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday (August 5) reported a total of 12 Filipinos still missing after the massive explosion at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon.
DFA Undersecretary Sarah Arriola confirmed in a press briefing that 11 of the 12 missing Filipinos are seafarers who jumped off their ship that was docked some 400 meters away from the blast site.
Two of their colleagues managed to go to the Philippine Embassy in Beirut after the incident.
Meanwhile, the other one missing is a household worker.
Arriola said Philippine representatives are now coordinating with the government of Lebanon for the search and rescue.
“We are coordinating with the Lebanese government. We have informed them of the reports of our seafarers, iyong mga nakaligtas (those who survived). Ginagawa natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para mahanap po sila (We are doing the best we could to find them),” she said.
The official said more Filipinos may have been affected by the incident.
She said majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Lebanon reside and work in Beirut and many other vessels that might have Filipinos on board were docked at the port when the explosion happened.
“I’m sure hindi lang sila doon ang nawawala o hinahanap dahil marami din nakadaong duon sa port na iba ibang mga barko (I’m sure they are not the only ones missing or being accounted for because there are other vessels also docked at the port).
As you know, karamihan talaga ng mga barko maraming Pilipino na seafarers (As you know, most shipping vessels employ a number of Filipino seafarers),” she explained.
The official also confirmed that based on the latest update from the Embassy, two Filipino household workers were among the fatalities while eight other household workers were among the injured.
Lebanese authorities are now investigating the cause of the explosion as initial reports cited at least 78 people died and some 3,000 others were injured in the powerful explosion.
Authorities fear many more people are buried beneath rubbles as the entire city of Beirut suffered massive damage to properties.
Arriola assured that the DFA will extend all the necessary assistance to the Filipinos affected in the city.
The agency also vowed to bring home the remains of those who were killed in the blast this weekend if the Lebanese government will permit it.
The Philippine Embassy, which is some 20 minutes drive away from the blast site, is intact and Embassy officials and staff are safe, Arriola said.
Filipino seafarers can have access to the courses being offered by the government for free, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), an agency under DOLE, has launched online courses especially designed to teach personal safety and skills enhancement for maritime workers.
“This is our way of keeping our seafarers active and productive whether they are at their respective homes spending quality time with their families, in quarantine facilities, or even when onboard ships. They will be able to receive their Certificate of Completion upon successful fulfillment of the online courses,” according to NMP Executive Director Joel Maglunsod.
Interested individuals may visit the NMP website at www.nmp.gov.ph or visit the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter). AAC
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Thursday (September 3) that one of the 39 Filipino crew members of the missing Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel off the waters of Japan has already been rescued.
The DFA made the confirmation through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Philippine Consulate General in Osaka.
The agency also confirmed that they made a distress call on Wednesday (September 2) from Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture before it disappeared.
The DFA assured that the Consulate General in Osaka is closely monitoring the situation as search and rescue operations for the missing vessel continue.
The Japanese Coast Guard has already deployed patrol boats and airplanes and is launching a second search and rescue mission prior to the expected incoming typhoon.
The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Osaka are in close coordination with Korpil Ship Management and Manning Corp., the local manning agency, in ascertaining the condition of the Filipino seafarers.
MANILA, Philippines – Over 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) repatriated from Lebanon are set to arrive in the country on Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement, the DFA said the OFWs will land at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via a chartered flight.
The flight will also carry the remains of eight Filipinos, four of whom were killed in the recent explosions in Beirut Port.
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is expected to be present at the airport to receive the repatriates, the department said.
Other officials who are likely to join the Secretary are Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido J. Dulay, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, and DND Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano, the DFA added.
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