Duterte admin to pursue friendly bilateral relations with Malaysia despite Sabah dispute

Marje Pelayo   •   July 31, 2020   •   752

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration will pursue the country’s friendly bilateral relations with Malaysia.

This was the response of Malacañang after Malaysia announced its intention to summon the Philippine’s ambassador in Malaysia over the controversial remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin.

On July 27, Locsin posted in his tweet that “Sabah is not in Malaysia” in reaction to a post by the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hisshammudin Hussein countered Locsin saying his comment was ‘irresponsible’, whereafter he summoned the Philippine ambassador.

Locsin stressed that he is asserting the Philippines’ rights over Sabah just as the country is defending and asserting the rights of the Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea.

Locsin replied that he will also summon the Malaysian ambassador in Manila on the matter.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile said that despite the unresolved territorial dispute on Sabah, the country will maintain friendly bilateral relations with its Southeast Asian neighbor.

READ: DFA denies giving up claim on Sabah

“This unresolved territorial dispute, as you correctly said has been dormant […] It has not affected our friendly bilateral relations and we will definitely maintain this friendly bilateral relations despite and in spite of this unresolved dispute,” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Repatriates from the UAE reach 3,000 — DFA

Maris Federez   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated a total of 3,000 distressed Filipinos from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the start of the pandemic.

The 7th special chartered flight from the UAE that carried 359 overseas Filipinos — including 112 pregnant Filipinos and 12 persons with disabilities — arrived at the Davao International Airport on Sunday morning.

“We are working double-time to make sure our kababayans in distress get the much-needed repatriation the soonest. Pregnant women, PWDs, and those with special needs are given due consideration to expediting their return home,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said in a news release Sunday.

The DFA said the repatriation of Filipinos from the UAE was made successful in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, the City Government of Davao, and other government agencies.

“We send our appreciation to our partner agencies, especially to the City Government of Davao, for the invaluable assistance to the repatriates upon their arrival. This is a clear example of the whole-of-government approach that the administration promised in assisting our distressed OFs,” Arriola added.

The DFA said all repatriates received a10,000-peso reintegration assistance.

Their return flight ticket, free quarantine facility, and swab test were also provided by the Philippine government. —/mbmf

DFA tells public: Temporarily stop using GCash in securing passport appointment online

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in its latest advisory advises the public to temporarily refrain from using GCash for their payments when using the agency’s online passport appointment system.

The agency said they are receiving numerous reports on errors, double charging, and unconfirmed appointments from applicants who paid through GCash while securing an appointment from DFA’s online passport appointment system website.

“Based on the advice received from Paymaya, the payment gateway for all passport appointments online, the reported issues occurred as some transactions which have already been declined by Paymaya were still approved by GCash,” the DFA said.

“Thus, applicants’ GCash accounts were still debited even if they did not receive appointment confirmations,” it added.

The DFA, through its Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), assures the public that it is closely coordinating with Paymaya as they resolve the issue with GCash.

DFA logs two new COVID cases among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported two new COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad.

Likewise, three overseas Filipino workers (OFW) recovered from the infection and no new fatalities were recorded.

Overall, DFA logged a total of 20,424 cases of COVID-19 among Filipinos from different parts of the world.

Of this number, 7,108 are currently undergoing treatment.

Also, 12,096 recovered and a total of 1,220 succumbed to the disease in all 94 countries and territories around the globe.

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