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

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2019   •   3039

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

DFA monitors welfare of 13 Pinoy seafarers abducted off Cameroon coast

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippine government is closely monitoring the status of the 13 Filipino seafarers who were reportedly abducted off the waters of Cameroon.

In a statement, the DFA confirmed that the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria is currently working to verify the report.

Embassy officials, likewise, were given instructions to make representations with the concerned authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino seafarers held in the piracy incident off the coast of Cameroon.

The Department of Foreign Affairs assured that it is in close contact with the seafarer’s manning agency and their families for updates of the case.

Philippines, Singapore issue travel advisories to Hong Kong

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019

Hong Kong Police arrests anti-government protesters

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday (August 16) advised Filipino travelers who have no urgent business in Hong Kong to avoid Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) as destination or transit airport for the meantime as public unrest continuous to escalate.

The DFA reiterates in a statement that the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong is closely monitoring the developments in the autonomous territory in relation to the ongoing protests in several areas there.

LIST of protest areas and schedule of demonstrations

Likewise, the Department advised Filipino travelers departing from Hong Kong to contact their respective airlines at least five hours before their scheduled flights for sudden changes and adjustments in their flight schedule.

Following are the airlines’ hotlines in Hong Kong:

  • Philippine Airlines: (+852) 2769.7123
  • Cebu Pacific: (+852) 3973.3800
  • Cathay Pacific: (+852) 2747.3333

Meanwhile, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also issued a travel advisory to its citizens to defer non-essential travel to Hong Kong, given current developments.

Singaporeans who are already in Hong Kong are advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and are reminded to be vigilant at all times.

MOFA also encourages Singaporeans in Hong Kong to eRegister with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/  for immediate coordination should the need arises.

Further details on the MOFA advisory can be viewed here.

DFA to Pinoy travelers: Don’t bring animal products to South Korea

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday (August 14) reminded Filipino travelers that entry of animal products is strictly not allowed in South Korea.

In an advisory, the DFA through the Philippine Embassy in Seoul is informing all Filipinos about the restriction being enforced by the Korea Immigration Service–Ministry of Justice (KIS-MOJ) which has taken effect on June 1, 2019.

Specifically, the Korean government bans entry of animal products like raw meat, processed meat, canned meat, eggs and poultry products, milk and dairy products, pet food and supplies.

In case a traveller has any of these products on his or her luggage, that product “must be reported or declared at the quarantine office of the port of entry” according to the Embassy’s advisory.

“This is to prevent the spread of highly-infectious diseases, such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease, and highly pathogenic avian influenza, under South Korea’s Contagious Animal Diseases Prevention Act,” the advisory further said.

Failure to report or declare animal products at airports and seaports could incur a fine of up to KRW 10,000,000 or equivalent to P428,570 and failure to pay the fine could deny the tourist entry to South Korea or visa extension.

As a similar procedure in Philippine ports of entry, the DFA reminded all Filipinos entering South Korea as visitors, workers, or residents “to refrain from bringing restricted items in their hand carried or checked-in luggage” as all baggage are being subjected to standard security screening.

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