MANILA, Philippines — The convener of Action for Good Governance, Atty. Argee Guevarra, argues that the quality of the new batch of passports are substandard.
In a press conference this on Monday, Atty. Guevarra showed a leaf from a supposed newly printed passport given to him by his informant.
He said compared to the ones we have now, the new print is thinner and the embedded watermarks are not that clear.
He added this might be labelled as fake and will not pass the reading machines at airports locally and internationally.
This might result in possible detention and repatriation of passport holders and overseas Filipino workers who will use such passports.
“The new quality of paper and the corresponding watermarks, it will be revealed that the new passport paper wont even pass master the passport reading machines, locally and internationally,” Guevarra said.
Atty. Guevarra says DFA entered into a questionable transaction with Asian Productivity Organization or APO that is contracted to do the printing.
An informant allegedly told Guevarra that APO outsourced the printing through another private corporation, the United Graphic Expression Corporation (UGEC) without the permission from DFA.
“Our existing passports has specific watermarks specific thickness of paper, and yet because of the APO production outsourcing through anomalous joint venture agreement with private printing office, our use of passport are compromised,” Guevarra added.
Guevarra said UGEC is the company also involved in mighty cigarettes stamp issue.
As of this time, DFA has not yet issued a statement or comment on the matter. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue
132 Filipinos repatriated from the Caribbean to arrive tonight
MANILA, Philippines — 132 Filipinos affected by Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands, Saint Maarten and Anguilla are on their way to the Philippines.
They will arrive tonight together with four members of the Rapid Response Team from the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC who helped in rescuing the affected Filipinos.
The Filipino repatriates voluntarily enlisted themselves to temporarily return to the country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) continues to coordinate with Philippine Embassies in hurricane-affected countries to ensure that the repatriated Filipinos can still return to the calamity-hit areas the moment the situation there returns to normal.
“Because they have existing contracts. So most likely since these are British and US territories., their contracts would specify for their return to their place of work. So we will assist them in making sure that despite the circumstances their terms of their contract will be honored by the employers when the reconstruction is finished,” said DFA Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar.
None was killed due to Hurricane Irma. However, Philippine embassies continue to monitor the possible effects of Hurricane Maria that is currently wreaking havoc in areas hit by Irma.
The Office of Migrant Workers Affairs vows to immediately coordinate with embassy officials if other Filipinos in the affected areas need to return home.
“The qualifications is for them to contact the embassy by whatever means if they are Filipinos. If they repatriated even there are documents or not exactly complete we give them travel documents and other documentation to make sure they have safe passages through the country’s,” DFA-Office of Migrant Workers Affairs OIC Exec. Director Raul Dado said.
Affected Filipinos seeking repatriation may call the Philippine Embassy emergency hotline or email them at consular@phembassy- us.org or send message to their social media accounts. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue
DFA, OCD, Labor Department, raise alert status over North Korea’s missile threat
South Korean defense officials confirmed North Korea conducted another nuclear bomb test over the weekend.
Pyongyang has initially warned of launching a missile attack targeting Guam, a US pacific territory.
It can be noted North Korea also launched an intercontinental ballistic missile tests that flew over Japan last month.
This prompted the Philippine government to conduct steps that would protect Filipinos abroad in the event the nuclear threat from North Korea further escalates.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Philippine embassies in affected areas are prepared for any eventuality.
“Under the contingency plan of each post, we will activate the contingency plan when there is a crisis and we are prepared on those areas,” DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs director Atty. Rose Fangco said.
Even the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has prepared contingency plans.
“We speak as one voice. The DFA and DOLE agreed on a contingency manual so our contingency manual, a plan of action; these are prepared at all embassies and Philippine Embassies in the world. The Embassy in Seoul is no different,” OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said.
The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) is also on alert should Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear threats further escalate.
“The first responders are always the LGU’s. We give them guidance and advice on how to prepare,” OCD ASec. Kristoffer James Purisima said.
The OCD said the public should take the missile tests of North Korea seriously especially since Pyongyang seems to have no intention of stopping it. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue
ASEAN ministers condemn China’s land reclamation, militarization in South China Sea
The foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN member states said a unilateral action has been the cause of tension and crisis arising between members of ASEAN and Beijing.
This has been the statement of the ASEAN foreign ministers regarding China’s land reclamation and militarization of the area.
Thus during the meeting, the bloc upheld the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The ASEAN ministers and China also upheld the framework of the code of conduct that would serve as a basis for the creation of the actual rules for the disputed territory.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the ASEAN members would maintain the improving situation in the South China Sea, although it remains unclear whether or not China would stop building structures in the disputed area.
“Parallel to this ASEAN and China will continue to cooperate on such practical maritime and cooperation efforts including managements and preventions of conflicts among parties through confidence rebuilding measures to prevent miscalculations on the ground,” said DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar. – Macky Libradilla | UNTV News and Rescue