DFA signs deal for first e-passport renewal center in Dubai

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019   •   387

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a private firm to establish the first electronic passport (e-passport) renewal center (PaRC) at a mall in Dubai.

In a statement, the DFA said the launch of the PaRC will allow Filipinos in Dubai and Northern Emirates to choose between applying for the renewal of their passport at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai or at the center.

“Those who avail of the services at PaRC will pay an additional convenience fee on top of the normal cost of passport renewal that they pay at the Consulate General or at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi,” the statement read.

“The PaRC will only cater to simple passport renewal services that do not require any changes in the biographic details of the passport holder,” it added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and VFS Global head of business development Chris Dez witnessed the signing of the agreement, which coincided with the inauguration of the PaRC at the Dubai Health Care City.

The establishment of the e-passport renewal center aims to provide an alternative means for Filipinos to avail of passport renewal services in two of the Middle East countries with the highest concentration of Filipino workers—the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time that the Philippine government has outsourced part of its renewal of passport application service to a private entity.

The department said the outsourcing to VFS Global only applies to the frontline operation of passport renewal application such as the “acceptance of application, capturing of biometrics and biographical details, payment of fees, and release of passport.”

“It should be noted that the actual production of passport is still with the DFA,” it said.

The United Arab Emirates is the second-largest concentration of Filipino workers in the Middle East with around 600,000 Filipinos living and working there.

The DFA said other PaRCs will be opened in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020.

160 stranded Filipinos in Japan return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

After weeks of being stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a total of 160 Filipinos are finally sent home on Monday (June 1).

The 160 Filipino tourists, workers, and students departed from Narita International Airport via a chartered flight mounted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

On the department’s Facebook post, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Atty. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, said that “the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad is firm commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which is dutifully being implemented by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose C. Laurel V assured the repatriates that the Philippine government will continue to provide assistance to Filipinos abroad.

According to the DFA, the said repatriated Filipinos will undergo COVID testing and hotel quarantine to wait out the results of their test. –AAC

295 Filipinos repatriated from Cayman Islands, London arrive in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 295 Filipino workers and their families repatriated from the Cayman Islands and London have arrived in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement issued Monday, the DFA said this batch of repatriates is composed of 287 Filipinos from Grand Cayman and eight stranded in London.

They landed on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) onboard an “airbridge” flight organized by the local government of the Cayman Islands.

The DFA said the Cayman Islands, which is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, mounted the “airbridge” flight to provide an opportunity for foreign contract workers to return to their home countries amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The department added that it was made possible with the cooperation of the Office of the Governor of the Cayman Islands Government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Washington D.C.

“The Manila airbridge flight is but a demonstration of the close Philippine-UK bilateral ties,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said.

Arriola assured that the Philippine Government will continue to work closely with other governments and organizations to mount similar repatriation flights to bring home Filipinos who are in distress as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Upon arrival at NAIA, the  DFA said the repatriates underwent thorough documentation and briefing on current safety protocols prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as well as RT-PCR COVID-19 testing.

“They will be temporarily housed at Bureau of Quarantine-approved facilities for their mandatory quarantine while they await the result of their RT-PCR test,” it said.

Over 230 Filipino sailors from Germany arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Over 200 Filipino sailors repatriated from Germany have arrived in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the DFA said a total of 239 Filipino seafarers have been repatriated on May 11, with the help of the Philippine Consulate in Frankfurt.

The latest batch of repatriates was composed of 188 crew of AIDAblu, and 51 of AIDAmar who signed off while their ships were docked at the German Port of Hamburg.

The DFA said it facilitated the arrival of the sailors from Germany while the shipping company, AIDA Cruises, chartered the Condor flight to bring the repatriates home.

The department said the repatriation was organized amidst the cap imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the daily number of arriving overseas Filipino workers in order to manage the existing quarantine protocols and to ensure that OFWs are adequately attended to upon their arrival.

The Philippine government has been repatriating Filipino workers from abroad amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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