No Filipinos injured in bushfires in Australia – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019   •   356

Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters conduct property protection as a bushfire burns close to homes on Railway Parade in Woodford, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 08 November 2019. Hot, windy conditions have seen bushfires burn out of control across parts of New South Wales, with 15 emergency warnings currently in effect in the state. EPA-EFE/DAN HIMBRECHTS

MANILA, Philippines – No Filipinos were injured in the bushfires that razed parts of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

The DFA said the information was based on reports from the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney, and Honorary Consulates in Brisbane and Perth.

“The DFA is closely monitoring the situation in the affected areas and is coordinating with various agencies and Filipino community leaders in Australia to ascertain the safety and welfare of Filipino nationals,” it said in a statement.

Bushfires that broke out in northern New South Wales and Queensland over the weekend killed three people and destroyed over 100 homes. A state of emergency has been declared in the said areas.  

The DFA urged Filipinos in bushfire-hit areas to heed the instructions of Australian authorities and to take necessary precautions for their safety.

Filipinos requiring assistance are advised to contact the respective Consulate with jurisdiction over their area.

Contact details are available at https://www.philembassy.org.au/offices/sydney-pcg-nsw.

DFA consular office operations suspended on Feb. 25

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, February 21 announced that operations at all its consular offices will be suspended on Tuesday, February 25.

In an advisory, the DFA said the suspension of operations, including the one in Aseana Business Park, is in observance of the anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, which is declared as a special non-working holiday.   

Applicants with confirmed appointments who will be unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations will be accommodated until March 25 during regular hours, except on Saturdays.

Regular operations and services will resume on Wednesday, February 26, according to the DFA.

Applicants with emergencies may email oca.concerns@dfa.gov.ph for their concerns, it added.

Locsin orders immediate repatriation of Filipinos on quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has ordered the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Locsin announced he has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan to repatriate Filipinos on the ship after its passengers who tested negative for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were allowed to disembark after the 14-day quarantine period.

“I have ordered our Tokyo Embassy to immediately repatriate our people in the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohoma Japan. It’s our duty to take care of our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!” he said.

As of Wednesday, February 19, 41 Filipino crew members of the ship were found positive for COVID-19. Like other people on the ship confirmed to be infected with the virus, the Filipinos were brought to hospitals in Japan to undergo treatment.

The DFA earlier said there are 531 Filipino crew members and seven passengers aboard the quarantined cruise ship. Around 400 of them have expressed their desire to be repatriated to the Philippines.

The department said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything would be smooth once the repatriation process begins.

DFA: Filipino workers can now return to Hong Kong, Macau despite coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos working in Macau and Hong Kong can now return to their jobs despite the travel ban being implemented on China and its territories due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

In a Twitter post, DFA Undersecretary Brigido “Dodo” Dulay announced that Filipino migrants returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban.

However, Dulay said they will be subjected to “certain procedural formalities.”

“OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) subject to certain procedural formalities,” he said.

Hundreds of Filipino workers bound for Hong Kong and Macau were left stranded in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte on February 2 imposed travel restrictions on China and its territories hit with the deadly virus.

Stranded migrant workers were offered P10,000 cash assistance, and provided with dormitories and food while they await the lifting of the travel ban.

Groups of OFWs have earlier appealed to the government to let them return to China and its territories in fear of losing their jobs.

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