Phl Embassy in Russia sends field voting teams in Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan

Maris Federez   •   May 13, 2019   •   1637

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta has once again denied reports that the number of ballots and other election paraphernalia is not enough for the registered voters in Russia, as well as, the other states of Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Ambassador Sorreta stated that the primary problem they encountered is the distance of each country from Russia and that the Filipinos in these countries are scattered. He assured, however, that the number of ballots and election paraphernalia is enough to cover all the Filipino voters.

Aside from sending ballots through the mail, Sorreta said that the embassy has also sent field voting team to assist the Filipino voters in selecting their bets.

He added that, “Mayroon din tayong consular services na binigay. So marami po tayong nakuhang botante. Yun ho yung pinaka malaking problema. Tungkol naman po sa mga gamit, kumpleto naman po ang mga balota at mga parepernalya at mga form na pinadala ng Comelec. Yun lang po ang problema at napakalaki po ng Russia at kalat po ang Filipino sa Russia sa Armenia tsaka sa Kazakstan at sa Belarus.”

[We also provide consular services. And we have recorded a large number of voters. That’s the biggest problem. As for the (election) materials, the ballots, forms, and other paraphernalia that Comelec sent are complete. The problem is that Russia is so big and Filipinos are scattered in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.]

Russia has a total number of 2,082 registered overseas Filipino worker (OFW) voters and the majority of them are in Moscow, while the others are based in Saint Petersburg, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Yakutsk.

The embassy expects that Monday’s voter turnout will increase as this is also the last day of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV), which started on April 13. (with reports from Catherine Martinez, UNTV Moscow) /mbmf

PH Embassy in London raises concerns over deaths of 20 Filipino health workers in UK

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Embassy in London has raised its concerns for the welfare of thousands of Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom after 20 of them have died amid the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

In a statement, the Philippine Embassy said it has brought to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK the concerns of Filipino health workers such as the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for those who are assigned in COVID-19 wards.

“We are deeply concerned about the deaths of Filipino health workers who sacrificed their lives as the world continues to fight this vicious disease. They put their lives on the line so that others may heal, live, and be reunited with their loved ones,” Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo said.

As of April 20, around 20 Filipino healthcare workers in the UK have died due to the viral respiratory disease.

Majority of those who passed away worked in hospitals across England, which registered the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the UK at 93,030 out of  124,73 lab-confirmed cases and 14,828 out of 16,509 hospital deaths.

The embassy said the deaths of Filipino medical workers due to COVID-19 “have caused a stir among British society since it is well known that Filipinos represent the third biggest group of National Health Service (NHS) staff after the British and Indians.”

Citing a March 2019 report on the NHS’ workplace diversity, the embassy said that close to 19,000 Filipinos serve the UK’s public health system either as medical professionals such as nurses and allied health professionals or as support staff.

The embassy said that various independent fundraisers have been organized by friends and family of those who succumbed to the disease.

Other Filipino community organizations have also contributed to support those who continue to fight at the frontlines, including the provision of face masks and hot meals.

The embassy said its frontline consular services have been suspended but its consular section, as well as the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), continue to coordinate with Filipino community organizations in extending assistance and monitoring the condition of those severely affected by the disease.

The embassy also assured it is implementing measures that safeguard public health and that it will continue to render assistance to distressed Filipino citizens in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

DFA raises alert level in Sudan due to ongoing civil unrest

Maris Federez   •   June 14, 2019

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday (June 14) announced that it raised the alert level in Sudan to Alert Level 2 on June 7, following the ongoing civil unrest in the capital of Khartoum and other areas of the country.

In a statement released by the DFA, it said: “Alert Level 2 or Restriction Phase is issued if there are real threats to the lives, security, and properties of Filipinos due to instability in a particular country.”

“Filipinos who remain in the country where Alert Level 2 is in effect are advised to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for evacuation,” the statement added.

The agency added that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will only allow the return of overseas Filipino workers who have existing employment contracts and in consideration of “other special circumstances”.

Filipinos in Sudan in need of assistance are urged to contact the Philippine embassy in Cairo, Egypt, through telephone numbers (+202) 252-13062 or through its Facebook Page.

They may also contact the Philippine Honorary Consul in Khartoum at (+249) 183-468717 or (+249) 183-468716.

DFA to affix ‘Apostille’ instead of ‘red ribbons’ starting May 14

Marje Pelayo   •   May 8, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised the public that it will no longer issue authentication certificates starting Tuesday next week.

This is in accordance with the Apostille Convention on Authentication of Documents that will take effect in the Philippines on May 14, 2019.

“After authentication by the DFA, there is no more need for authentication (legalization) by the concerned Foreign Embassies or Consulates General if the country or territory of destination of the authenticated document is already a member of the Apostille Convention,” DFA said in an advisory Tuesday (May 7).

Instead, the agency will affix an “Apostille” or a certificate giving a public document a legal effect for use in other countries.

Meanwhile, documents issued in Apostille member countries and territories (except Austria, Finland, Germany and Greece) which will be used in the Philippines no longer need authentication from Philippine Embassy or Consulate General once Apostillized.

The DFA clarified, however, that public documents coming from countries and territories not part of the Apostille Convention need to undergo the previous authentication process.

READ: List of Apostille-contracting parties

“Documents still have to be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate General before they can be used in the Philippines,” the advisory said.

“Also, there is still a need for authentication (legalization) by the concerned Foreign Embassies or Consulates General if the country of destination of the authenticated document is not yet a member of the Apostille Convention,” it added.

Authentication fees will remain at P100 for regular processing and P200 for expedited processing per document. – Marje Pelayo

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