DFA: Tugboat manned by Filipino crew seized in Persian Gulf

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2019   •   774

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that a tugboat manned by 12 Filipino crew was seized in the Persian Gulf due to alleged oil smuggling.

Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo C. Santos said the tugboat was seized on September 7 and that an investigation is on-going.

“He [Santos] said that Coast Guard authorities relayed that an investigation is on going on the alleged oil smuggling of the crew, and once this has been established, the matter will be referred to the local court,” the DFA bulletin reads.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Department is awaiting further updates on the issue including the condition of the 12 seafarers. The department is also prepared to provide assistance when needed.—AAC

Afghanistan, Laos lift border restrictions on Filipino travelers – DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   October 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Two Asian countries Laos and Afghanistan have lifted their restrictions on inbound Filipino travelers, says the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The new ruling, however, is subject to flight availability and medical protocols.

The DFA on Monday (Oct. 19) noted that Malaysia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong have imposed stricter medical protocols and visa regulations for those who are exempt from entry restrictions.

Mongolia’s borders remain open but inbound travelers in the country are now required to present negative COVID-19 test results and must have all applicable documents to support their visa status.

Japan, on the other hand, has gradually opened up inbound entry for students, dependents and technical interns but still prohibits entry of short-stay travelers, including tourists, the DFA said.

Also, previous information on travel restrictions for other countries and regions remain the same.

“In view of these updates, the DFA reminds the public that information contained in the infographics is subject to change without prior and sufficient public notice,” the agency said.

The DFA reminds travelers that it is always best to check ahead of travel dates with airlines, as well as with relevant Embassies or Consulates before booking a ticket and before departure.

DFA repatriates over 223K overseas Filipinos since start of pandemic

Maris Federez   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Sunday (October 18) that it has brought home a total of 223,294 overseas Filipinos (OFs) since the start of the pandemic.

The DFA said the number shows how they are fully committed to their COVID-19-related repatriation efforts.

In a statement posted on its website, the department said that, in the past week alone, it has repatriated an additional 9,352 OFs.

The DFA added that of the total number of OFs repatriated, 73,870 (33.08%) are sea-based, while 149,424 (66.92%) are land-based.

“The DFA facilitated this week the safe return of 8,444 OFs from the Middle East, 512 from Asia and the Pacific, 394 from Europe, and 2 from the Americas via 38 special commercial repatriation flights. The DFA likewise chartered two flights from Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which flew home 603 OFs, including five OFWs with chronic medical conditions,” the statement said.

It added that part of the 8,444 OFs who came home from the Middle East were 260 Agrostudies students from Israel, an undocumented OFW and her minor child from Iran, and two possible victims of trafficking-in-persons from Syria.

“The DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, also successfully repatriated 92 OFWs from Benghazi, Libya. This marked the DFA’s first repatriation from Benghazi since 2017,” the statement further said.

The department also announced that through the Philippine Consulate General in Manado, the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Consular Office in General Santos City and in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard, they have brought home 40 Filipino fishermen from North Sulawesi, Indonesia to General Santos City on board the BRP Tubbataha.

The statement said that this is the agency’s first repatriation effort by sea from Indonesia since the start of the pandemic.

“The DFA reassures our fellow Filipinos, especially those who remain stranded overseas, whether on land or on sea, of its continuous efforts to safely bring them home,” the statement concluded.

12th batch of distressed overseas Filipinos in Saudi Arabia arrives in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2020

The 12th batch of distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) arrived in the Philippines on Thursday (October 15), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

A total of 341 distressed OFs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The repatriates already underwent COVID-19 RT-PCR testing and will be staying under hotel quarantine until their test results come out negative.

The DFA began its mass repatriation efforts in February to assist OFs affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DFA has already repatriated more than 4,200 Filipinos from Riyadh and the eastern regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. AAC

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