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

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2019   •   2385

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

160 stranded Filipinos in Japan return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

After weeks of being stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a total of 160 Filipinos are finally sent home on Monday (June 1).

The 160 Filipino tourists, workers, and students departed from Narita International Airport via a chartered flight mounted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

On the department’s Facebook post, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Atty. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, said that “the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad is firm commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which is dutifully being implemented by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose C. Laurel V assured the repatriates that the Philippine government will continue to provide assistance to Filipinos abroad.

According to the DFA, the said repatriated Filipinos will undergo COVID testing and hotel quarantine to wait out the results of their test. –AAC

DOLE targets send off of remaining OFWs in quarantine facilities this week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is doubling its efforts to finally send off all the remaining overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in government quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.

To date, DOLE has sent around 19,000 OFWs and according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hopefully they will be able to send home the rest of them within this week.

Likewise, Bello apologized to all stranded OFWs for their prolonged stay in quarantine facilities. 

To address the matter, DOLE set up a command center at its central office in Manila to facilitate the gathering of all the necessary information regarding arriving OFWs.

Inaasahan natin with this center hindi na po mauulit ang nangyari sa ating mga minamahal sa buhay [We hope that with this center, what happened to our loved ones will not be repeated],” Bello said. 

“They do not deserve this to happen to them. And I repeat I am very sorry to our OFWs,” the Labor Chief added.

The command center is open 24/7 to accept inquiry and to assist all OFWs.

Also, inquiry may be directed to www.commancenter.dole.gov.ph.

Bello reported that there are still around 300,000 stranded OFWs in different parts of the globe, around 62,000 of them have signified their intention for repatriation. 

DOLE expects the arrival of some 42,000 OFWs by the end of May and June. 

Bello promised a faster quarantine process by administering COVID-19 tests to OFWs’ prior to their departure from their country of origin. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Nueva Ecija appeals to OWWA for better system on returning OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Government has appealed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to have a better system on returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Atty. OJ Cornejo, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Assessor’s Office, said it has become a challenge for the provincial government to verify if the returning OFWs are negative of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

He said the OFWs do not have sufficient documents to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Nag-message po ulit sila Sunday night na may uuwing dalawa pero wala pa iyong documents. Hindi pa nila pinapadala so hindi po ma-approve. We need to see po muna iyong negative result ng test and iyong quarantine certificate na nag-undergo na talaga quarantine iyong OFW (They sent a message Sunday night that two OFWs are returning but they have no documents yet. They haven’t sent it yet so it wasn’t approved. We first need to see the negative result of the test and the certificate that they underwent quarantine),” he said.

Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali said they need a more accurate list from OWWA so that they will be able to implement the proper safety protocols for returning OFWs.

“For instance pupunta pala ng Aurora pero Nueva Ecija ang nakalagay, so importante na makuha natin ang tamang listahan so that ang ating mga mayors, LGUs, will be able to prepare sa ating returning OFWs (For instance, they are going to Aurora but the document says Nueva Ecija. So it’s important for us to get the right list so that our mayors, LGU, will be able to prepare for our returning OFWs),” he said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) previously reported that 24,000 OFWs will be returning to the country in the coming days and around 40,000 by next month. AAC (with reports from Danny Munar)

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