PH Independence Day: Robredo calls for equal opportunities for all Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2019   •   1659

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday called on the public to fight for equal opportunities for all Filipinos as the country celebrates the 121st Philippine Independence Day.

In her message, Robredo urged Filipinos to draw inspiration from forebearers who fought for the country’s freedom from colonizers.

“Sa paggunita natin ngayon ng ating kasarinlan, sana ay balikan natin kung paano, bilang isang lahi, ay pinili nating sundin ang sarili nating landas, magtayo ng sarili nating gobyerno at magtatag ng sariling estado,” Robredo said in her message released on Wednesday.

The Vice President underscored that in choosing freedom from foreign oppressors, Filipinos have the responsibility to establish a nation where everyone would have an opportunity to live peacefully and prosperously.

“Sa pagtutulak ng interes na ito, inako natin ang responsibilidad na gumawa ng isang lipunang malaya, makatarungan at makatao. Isang lipunan kung saan ang bawat Pilipino ay may oportunidad na mabuhay nang sagana at mapayapa,” she said.

“Hanggang sa araw na ito, nakaatang ang responsibilidad na ito sa bawat isa sa atin. Ito ang pinaglaban ng mga nauna sa atin at ito na rin ang tungkuling iniwan sa atin upang gampanan: ang masigurong nabubuhay tayo sa isang Pilipinas kung saan umaangat ang bawat isang mamamayan,” she added.

Robredo continued with: “Bilang mga lingkod bayan, nasa ating pananagutan ang pangarap na ito para sa bawat Pilipino: na lahat ay kabahagi at walang maiiwan; na lahat ay may pantay-pantay na oportunidad sa pag-unlad.”

In her message, she also gave honor to the sacrifices made by the country’s heroes.

“Kinikilala natin ang lahat ng nagsumikap at lumaban para matupad ang pangarap ng isang malayang Pilipinas, at para sa karapatan ng bawat Pilipinong panghawakan ang sarili niyang kinabulkasan,” Robredo said.

She also expressed hope that as Filipinos celebrate the country’s Independence Day, it would make them remember their love and responsibility for the Philippines and the things that could be attained through unity.

“Nawa’y pukawin ng pagdiriwang na ito ang isang malalim na pagmamahal para sa bayan, at maging paalala s abawat isa ng kung ano ang kaya nating marating sa ating pagbabayanihan,” she said.

Robredo led the 121st Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park on Wednesday, along with outgoing Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

Protocols urged for evacuation of OFWs amid nCoV outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday (January 27) consulted with the Department of Health (DOH) on the establishment of health protocols for the evacuation of Filipinos from cities in China affected by novel coronavirus (nCoV) specifically in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the outbreak.

During the meeting, officials discussed potential measures to properly respond to health emergency prompted by the outbreak of nCoV in China and other countries.

Likewise, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Eduardo Malaya raised the need to formulate further health advisories for Filipinos including DOH hotlines in each Philippine foreign service post in China to which they can call.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje advised Filipinos in virus-affected areas to exercise precaution by avoiding crowded places, using masks and gloves, as well as practicing proper hand washing and hygiene to reduce the risk of nCoV infection.

The DFA said it is continuously reaching out to Filipinos in China through Embassy and Consulate officials.

Meanwhile, the DOH clarified and maintained that there are no reports of any Filipino, here and abroad, affected by nCoV, so far.

Cimatu heads to the Middle East as forced evacuation of OFWs begins

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is leaving for the Middle East on Thursday (January 9) to oversee the immediate repatriation of Filipinos there amid the escalating tension between the United States and Iran that is affecting all other Gulf states.

President Rodrigo Duterte reinstated Cimatu as the Philippine Special Envoy to the Middle East, his position under the Arroyo administration, being the most experienced when it comes to conflicts in the Gulf region.

In response to his recommendation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised crisis alert level 4 in Iraq which orders mandatory repatriation of all Filipinos living and working there.

Iraq holds a number of US military bases which are potential targets by Iranian retaliation following the death of Iran’s top military general Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike launched by the US.

“Pipilitin namin lalo na sa Iraq. Nagawa na namin ito kasi ayaw talaga nilang umalis. Hanggang sa ma-convince namin, (We will force them especially those in Iraq. We did this in the past because some Filipinos really refused to leave. (We will force them) until they are convinced,)” Cimatu said.

“(They assume, things are still okay.) They don’t know yet. This is a forced evacuation. We have to forced them really,” he added.

In a press briefing Wednesday (January 8), Cimatu confirmed that a total of 1,592 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) volunteered for repatriation and are set to leave Iraq as soon as they are cleared to go.

They will be moved out of Baghdad to Jordan and from there, they will be transferred to Dubai where they can board their flights to the Philippines.

Cimatu is confident that the process of repatriation will succeed for the safe evacuation of Filipinos, especially those who will move by land.

They will make sure to put up Philippine flags for identification.

Cimatu said Dubai will be repatriation’s central logistic base since there are direct flights from Dubai to the Philippines.

From the Philippines, Cimatu will fly to Doha, Qatar before he attempts entry to Iraq to facilitate the evacuation of Filipinos there.

One concern, Cimatu said, is the situation of Filipinos who are married to Iranian nationals.

Cimatu said they are ready to assist Philippine passport holders but their Iranian spouses may only leave if their government allows them to.

The Philippines also has an existing ban of workers to Lebanon and repatriation has been ongoing since the start of the civil unrest there.

Secretary Cimatu assured that all Philippine posts in different gulf states have contingency plans in place in case alert level 4 is raised in their areas of jurisdiction. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Filipinos in US-ally Saudi Arabia cautioned to exercise vigilance, coordinate with authorities

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2020

A general view shows the Royal Hotel Clock Tower located near the Haram Sharif mosque during sunset. EPA/ ALAA BADARNEH

MIDDLE EAST – Philippine officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Iraq are calling on Filipinos there to heed their advisory and exercise vigilance amid the rising tension between the United States and Iran which will most likely affect the rest of the countries in the Middle East.

In an advisory, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh cautioned the Filipino communities in KSA against potential security threats, thus Embassy officials advised Filipinos to observe security measures and protocols established by the Saudi government, and abide by the laws, rules, and regulations of the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Embassy assures Filipinos that procedures for potential evacuation and repatriation are in place should they be affected or displaced by the impending hostilities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a long-time ally of the United States since the establishment of their full diplomatic relations in 1933.

Reports said regional activities by the slain Iranian General Qasem Soleimani frequently targeted Saudi Arabia and its allies. 

Based on records of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the KSA is the second country in the world that hosts the most number of Filipinos, nearly a thousand less than one million in the agency’s 2014 data.

For security-related incidents, information on developing security situations on the ground, and requests for assistance, Filipinos in the Kingdom may contact the following:

A. Assistance-to-Nationals Section (ANS) – Philippine Embassy in Riyadh
1. Landline Number – 011-480-1918
2. Hotline Number – 056 989 3301
3.E-mail Address – assistance@riyadhpe.com

B. Assistance-to-Nationals Section (ANS) – Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah
1. Hotline Numbers – 055 219 613 / 055 219 614
2. E-mail Address – ans@pcgjeddah.org

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