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

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2019

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

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Filipinos in Sudan urged to ‘exercise caution’ amid political unrest

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019

Protesters take to the streets of central Khartoum demanding military leaders to hand over power to civilians. | Photo credit: Reuters

MANILA–The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday (April 11) called on overseas Filipino workers in Sudan “to exercise caution in light of the uncertainty caused by the current political crisis” in the said country.

“The Department echoes the call of the Philippine Embassy in Cairo for Filipinos in Khartoum to avoid crowded areas and stay inside their homes while the protests are ongoing,” the DFA said in an advisory.

For emergency assistance, the agency also urges Filipinos to contact the Philippine Embassy in Cairo through +202-252-13062 or the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Khartoum through the numbers +249-183-468717 or +249-183-468716.

They may also reach the embassy through its Facebook Page, the “Philippine Embassy in Egypt.”

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup on Thursday (April 11), marking the end of his 30-long-years of autocracy.

But protesters’ jubilation was short-lived as they took to the streets of central Khartoum demanding military leaders to hand over power to civilians.

Sudan’s Ministry of Defense said the country would enter a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections.

Following Bashir’s ouster, Sudan’s Defense Ministry announced a state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution.

A curfew has also been imposed. – Marje Pelayo

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DFA raises alert level 3 in Tripoli, Libya

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday raised the alert level from two to three in Tripoli and nearby districts amid the escalating violence in Libya.

“I have raised the alert level in Libya to 3 but only for Tripoli and adjacent districts plus a 100 km radius,” DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. announced in his official Twitter account.

The Philippine Embassy in Libya said the alert level covers Filipinos working and living in Tripoli, as well as in Tahoura, Ghot Romman, Qaraboli, Qasr Khiyar, Esbea, Tarhuna, Bani Waled, Gharyan, Aziziya, Warshifana, Zawia, Surman and Sabratha.

Alert level 3 or voluntary repatriation phase means that Filipinos working in the specified areas but are currently in the Philippines will not be allowed to travel back to Libya until the situation returns to normal.

In an advisory, the embassy renewed its call to Filipinos working within the 100-kilometer radius of the Libyan capital to observe extreme caution and avail of the government’s offer of repatriation amid escalating tensions.

The department has assured to extend assistance to Filipinos who will avail of the repatriation program.

For Filipinos who chose to stay, the embassy has asked them to move to safer locations and to stay away from areas where fighting is taking place.

The DFA also strongly advises Filipinos “against taking part or even going near any public demonstrations or armed formations” and from making comments on social media about Libya’s political situation.

Filipinos in need of emergency shelter are also urged to call the embassy for assistance.

“The Embassy will remain open to respond to requests for assistance from Filipinos who might be affected by the fighting,” the DFA said.

There are 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli and nearby areas, based on DFA’s estimates.

For urgent assistance, Filipinos in Libya may contact the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli through the number +218-91-824-4208 or through the official Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in Libya. – Robie de Guzman

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163 Filipino crew of stranded cruise ship in Norway all safe: DFA

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019

Helicopters hover above the Viking Sky cruise ship as passengers are airlifted from the vessel that was stranded off Norway. | Courtesy: CHC Helicopter through Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) continues to closely monitor the rescue operations for the passengers of a cruise ship that was stranded off the coast of Norway.

In a statement on Sunday (March 24), the DFA said all 163 Filipino crew members of the cruise ship, Viking Sky, are safe and are helping in the evacuation of passengers

“The Philippine Embassy in Oslo, which is in touch with Viking Cruises and the Norwegian Rescue Center, reported that the ship’s 163 Filipino crew members are all safe and are helping evacuate passengers,” the DFA added.

Passengers also praised the efficiency and helpfulness of the ship’s Filipino crew in the evacuation, the Philippine Embassy in Norway said.

On Saturday, the Viking Sky sent a distress signal off the coast of Norway after it encountered engine problems in rough seas that caused it to drift toward the rocky shore.   

479 people, mostly senior citizens, were airlifted by Rescue Services. Some 20 passengers had been taken to hospital while others only suffered minor injuries, the Viking Cruise ship management said.

There were 1,373 passengers aboard the luxury ship the but none were Filipinos, the DFA said.

Report from Norwegian authorities said the luxury ship had restarted and is now moving at a slow pace. Tug boats are currently trying to move the Viking Sky to shore as three of the cruise ship’s four engines working. – Robie de Guzman

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