DFA urges Filipinos to be vigilant amid tensions between India, Pakistan

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2019   •   3141

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday urged Filipinos in India and Pakistan to be vigilant amid soaring tensions between the two countries.

In an advisory, the department advised Filipinos in the said countries to take necessary precautions and to avoid travelling to the Kashmir region.

DFA said there are approximately 1,780 Filipinos in Pakistan and 1,167 others in India, based on government data.

India and Pakistan have been reported to have shot down each other’s fighter jets on Wednesday as the international community called for restraint.

Pakistan even captured an Indian pilot a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a 1971 war.

The two countries have been trading blows since at least 40 Indian paramilitary police died in a February 14 suicide car bombing led by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir. But the tensions escalated dramatically when India launched an airstrike on Tuesday on an alleged militant training base.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has expressed hope that India and Pakistan will exercise restraint even as it closely monitors the situation in Kashmir in the wake of rising tensions between the two countries,” the department said in a statement.

The DFA noted that although there are no Filipinos residing in Kashmir, all seven Filipino military observers serving with the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) are safe.

Filipinos in Pakistan who may find themselves in emergency situations may call the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad at +92 333 524 4762 for assistance while those in India may wish to call the Philippines Embassy in New Delhi at (+91) 99 1079 7014. – Robie de Guzman

Half-day operations at Aseana, NCR consular offices on Dec. 6 – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday announced that its consular office at ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque and other consular offices in Metro Manila will only operate until 12 noon on Friday, Dec. 6.

In an advisory, the DFA said the half-day suspension of operations is due to the training of its officers and staff.

“Regular operations and services will resume on Monday, 09 December 2019,” the advisory read.

The DFA said applicants with confirmed appointments on December 6, 2019, are requested to come before 11:30 a.m.

Those who will be unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of afternoon operations will be accommodated on any working day until January 6, 2020, during regular office hours.

Meanwhile, the consular office in Zamboanga will also be closed on Friday, Dec. 6 for official activities.

Operations at DFA’s consular office in Pampanga, on the other hand, will be suspended on Saturday, Dec. 7, also due to official activities.

Regular operations in the said offices will resume on Monday.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019

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.

DFA: Filipinos in Hong Kong are safe, no need for evacuation at this time

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assures kin of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Hong Kong that they are safe and remain unaffected by the ongoing public unrest in the southeastern Chinese territory.

The DFA issued a statement following false reports on the plight of Filipino workers and residents in Hong Kong that circulated on social media.

“The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong is closely monitoring the situation and is taking every step to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our nationals there,” the DFA said.

The Department said those who wish to follow the impact of developments in Hong Kong on Filipinos there, are advised to visit the Consulate’s website for updates and advisories “instead of turning to questionable sources of information in the social media.”

In a live broadcast on Facebook, Consul General Raly Tejada allayed fears of families of OFWs living and working in the territory.

“Ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay dito sa Hong Kong ay safe naman po at nasa Mabuti pong kalagayan, (Your loved ones here in Hong Kong are safe),” Tejada said.

“Wala po kayong dapat ipagalala sapagkat ang Konsulado naman po dito ay nananatiling handa upang tumulong sa mga pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin dito, (You have nothing to worry about because the Consulate is ready to provide them the necessary assistance),” he added.

Meanwhile, Tejada calls on all Filipino residents and workers in Hong Kong to always monitor the Consulate’s advisory through its official Facebook page and website where Philippine officials announce latest information regarding the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

They may also call the Philippine Consulate’s hotline number 91554023 for assistance as they are ready to respond, according to Tejada.

Filipinos who have work contracts in Hong Kong are assured that the territory’s international airport is functional and businesses runs as usual.

However, Consul General Tejada asked non-essential travelers to Hong Kong to defer their plans at this time for their safety.

“Kung pwede po ay ipagpaliban muna at pagisipan po muna natin bago po tayo tumuloy ng Hong Kong (You may opt to defer or reconsider before you travel to Hong Kong),” he said.

“Ang mga public transportation po dito ay naapektuhan po ng rally kaya hindi po dependable sa ngayon (All public transportation here are very much affected by the rally so they are not that dependable at this time),” he concluded.

Tunghayan ang mensahe ng ating Consul General Raly L. Tejada

Posted by Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong on Monday, 11 November 2019

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