Filipinos infected with COVID-19 from Japan cruise ship rises to 80

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2020   •   508

MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipinos who contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after staying aboard the M/V Diamond Princess in Japan has climbed to 80 on Tuesday, authorities said.

“Per Tokyo PE, 80 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess cruise have so far tested positive for Covid-19,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said in a Twitter post.

“10 have since been discharged w/ clean bill of health. Remaining Filipino crew for repatriation today have all tested negative,” he added.

In a separate media interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that most of the Filipinos found to be infected with the virus have been placed under isolation and treatment in Japanese hospitals.

Philippine authorities are set to repatriate Tuesday more than 400 Filipinos from the cruise ship.

Duque assured that they will be tested first to make sure that no one with an illness will come along the flight.

Those who will manifest symptoms will not be allowed to board the aircraft based on Japan’s quarantine laws.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will be brought to a facility at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said that its personnel are now at the Yohohama Port for the disembarkation of the Filipino crew.

A total of 538 Filipinos – 531 crew members and seven passengers – were aboard the cruise ship when it was placed on quarantine after one of its passengers tested positive for novel coronavirus disease earlier this month.

The DFA, however, said that not all Filipino crew members will be able to return home as some of them will be needed to stay behind to help in the ship’s continued operation and maintenance.

DFA NCR East closes for disinfection Sept. 28

Marje Pelayo   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that its National Capital Region-East (NCR-East) consular office located at SM Megamall will be closed on Monday (September 28).

This is to give way to disinfection of office premises and implementation of other preventive measures to manage and prevent risks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DFA NCR-East will resume its regular operations on Tuesday (September 29), the advisory said.

Affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing ncreast.so@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Original appointment date and time
  • Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day (Monday to Friday) from September 29 to October 29 during the Consular Office’s regular operation hours 10:00AM to 5:00PM.

Applicants who need emergency or urgent consular services may contact Consular Office NCR-East by email at ncreast.so@dfa.gov.ph.

DFA finalizes repatriation for 11 stranded Filipino seafarers onboard Ocean Star 86

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is finalizing the repatriation of the remaining 11 Filipino seafarers stranded in Chinese waters onboard Ocean Star 86 since March 24.

The DFA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are already coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in China. OWWA said the seafarers will be able to return home by next week.

“Mayroon na po napipintong repatriation either this coming week or first week of October ng ating mga mahal na stranded seafarers sa China (Our stranded seafarers in China will be repatriated either this coming week or first week of October). We are now providing assistance to the seafarers,” according to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.

Based on the information received by OWWA, the Ocean Star 86 is docked in the mainland and the Philippine Embassy in China has been providing assistance to the seafarers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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OFW accused of murder in Saudi Arabia returns home after release – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina migrant worker who was charged with murder in Saudi Arabia has returned home following her release from prison, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement, the DFA said Rose Policarpio arrived in Manila on Tuesday after spending almost six years in jail for a crime she did not commit.

“Ms. Policarpio’s eventual acquittal is an example of the government’s commitment in protecting and promoting the rights of our OFWs. With her new lease on life, we wish her success in her future endeavors,” DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.

Policarpio, 31 years old, was deployed as a food server in Saudi Arabia in 2013. A few days after her arrival in Riyadh, she was imprisoned for murder after being accused of killing her employer.

She had consistently denied the crime and was eventually found not guilty by the lower court, the verdict of which was sustained by the court of appeals, leading to her eventual release from detention and repatriation.

The DFA said that through its Legal Assistance Fund (LAF), it provided for the services of her legal counsel. The Philippine Embassy also regularly visited her in jail and provided her with welfare assistance.

After securing her release, the DFA settled her incurred immigration penalties and secured her exit visa.

“This is a vindication of Ms. Policarpio and a clear declaration of her innocence. This is also a testament that the DFA and its people are willing to go the extra mile in order to protect and safeguard the rights of our kababayan wherever they are in the world,” Arriola said.

The DFA said Policarpio will be reunited with her family once COVID-19 health protocols are complied with.

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