Duterte dismisses former ambassador to Brazil

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021   •   982

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the dismissal of former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

In his public address on Monday (March 1), Duterte said he signed the document affirming the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) fact-finding team to dismiss Mauro.

“I signed the document affirming the decision,” he said.

The decision metes out dismissal from the service that carries with it accessory penalties such as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, the President said.

DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr., meanwhile, described the President’s decision as “harsh”.

“It was a harsh decision affirming DFA’s decision and penalties TO THE LETTER against what was a fine diplomat. While her temper got the better of her in that case, she treated a self-important young diplomat the same way and his lousy character completely changed for the better,” he said on his Twitter post on Tuesday.

The president ordered the DFA to conduct an investigation on Mauro in October 2020 after a video showing Mauro abusing her Filipina helper in Brazil became viral.

The video was released by a Brazilian news platform Globo News in September last year showing CCTV footage where Mauro was physically abusing her 51-year-old household help at the Philippine ambassador’s official residence in Brasilia. —/mbmf

Consular services remain suspended in NCR Plus during extended ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 5, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced the temporary suspension of Consular services in DFA offices in the National Capital Region and in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

This, after the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was extended in the said ‘NCR Plus’ areas from Monday (April 5) to Sunday (April 11).

Specifically, the affected DFA offices include the Office of Consular Affairs in Aseana, Parañaque City, Consular offices in Antipolo, Dasmariñas, Malolos, and San Pablo City.

Passport and authentication applicants of these Consular Offices affected by the ECQ declaration from March 29 to April 9 will be accommodated beginning from the week after ECQ is lifted.

Emails will be sent to concerned passport and authentication applicants with their new appointment schedule.
Affected applicants are advised to refer to the email and the agency’s public advisory on the accommodation schedule that will be followed in the link – https://bit.ly/3mupmGl.

“We again advise that schedules may still be subject to change if current ECQ restrictions continue or when local governments and mall partners which host these COs implement restrictions on access,” the DFA said in its advisory.

The DFA shall update its advisory should there be further changes.

These updates may be viewed at DFA’s official website https://consular.dfa.gov.ph.

DFA launches online appointment system for authentication services

Marje Pelayo   •   March 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) launched the online Apostille Appointment and Verification System on Tuesday (March 9).

Applicants who need to submit Philippine documents abroad will only need to apply for an Apostille certificate instead of having the documents authenticated at the foreign embassy or consulate. 

Once the document is issued an Apostille certificate, the applicant may submit the document directly to the concerned party.

The said online system is in line with the agency’s phasing out of the ‘red ribbon’ certificate.

“Authentication services are crucial for the Filipino public, particularly our OFWs and students abroad. It is for them that we continue to think of ways to do things better and make their lives a bit easier,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said.

The newly-launched system will allow applicants who wish to submit their documents for authentication at DFA Aseana to register for an appointment at http://dfa.gov.ph/apostille-appointment.

By April 2021, applicants may also register online for authentication appointments at select Consular Offices nationwide.

According to DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay Tuesday’s “launch of this online appointment system for authentication services is a concrete, tangible and self-evident example of how we operationalize this commitment [to an effective, efficient and timely delivery of consular services that are responsive to the needs of Filipinos here and abroad]”.

The step-by-step process of using the newly-launched online Apostille Appointment and Verification System may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/2POySaT

Those who wish to know more about the Authentication through Apostille may check https://tinyurl.com/DFAApostilleAuthentication.

For DFA’s Authentication services and which Consular Offices offer the service may visit the consular website.

DFA to fly home remains of 4 Filipino workers found in Libya

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to start arrangements to fly home the remains of four Filipinos found in Libya, six years after they were reported abducted by ISIS militants.

Philippine Embassy in Tripoli Chargé d’Affaires and Head of Mission Elmer Cato said the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) has conveyed the latest development to the victims’ families in the Philippines and will make arrangements for forensics experts to assist in identifying the remains and bringing them home. 

“After six long years, the families of our four kababayans will finally find closure,” Cato said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said the Filipino workers, identified as Donato Santiago, Gregorio Titan, Roldan Blaza, and Wilson Eligue, were forcibly taken with two co-workers from Austria and the Czech Republic by ISIS extremists who attacked the Ghani Oil Field in southern Libya on March 6, 2015.

Cato said nothing much had been heard from the kidnapped foreign oil workers until a video showing their execution was found in a laptop seized from slain ISIS fighters in Derna two years later.

The six had since been presumed dead although their bodies were never recovered. 

Sometime in 2018, Cato said the Embassy was informed that the remains of the four missing Filipinos could be among those that have been recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent Society in various parts of Derna and later buried there. 

“However, due to the unstable security situation, the Embassy was not able to send a team to Derna to search for the four Filipinos,” Cato said.

“It was only in October that Embassy officials were able to travel to Benghazi and request the assistance of authorities in finding the four,” he added.

Cato said that on March 1, the Libyan military led Embassy officials in locating the bodies of the four Filipinos that were buried in Dahr Ahmar Islamic Cemetery, 10 kilometers from Derna.

The DFA official has expressed gratitude for the assistance extended by Libyan authorities.

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