President Duterte halts foreign marine exploration in Philippine Rise

UNTV News   •   February 7, 2018   •   3411

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson, Secretary Harry Roque has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Filipino scientists to have an exclusive marine researching the Philippine Rise and ordered the cancellation of pending foreign applications for research.

The President himself raised the issue at last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

Malacañang said this is to assert the sovereign rights of the country over the Philippine Rise.

“I confirm that the President ordered that henceforth, only Filipino scientists are allowed to do scientific research, lay submarine cables and explore and exploit natural resources in the Philippine Rise,” Roque said.

The government, however, clarified that the freedom of navigation in the area remains.

It also does not mention if the government plans to provide a budget to support the research of Filipino scientists in the extended continental shelf.

Malacañang also reported that currently, all scientific research of other counties in the area are already finished.

All in all, there have been 46 foreign research applications in the Philippine Rise from the year 2000, of which 28 were approved including the two applications from a Chinese foreign institution.

However, scientists of foreign institutions may still conduct research in the Philippine Rise if the National Security Council particularly National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon permits it.

“Any foreign entity who wishes to conduct research can apply to the usual body and in addition, there must be personal approval of the National Security Adviser,” said Roque.

In his Facebook post, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said President Duterte gave a directive to the Department of National Defense to deploy ships as well as the Philippine Airforce to conduct flyovers and monitor the area.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said if Malacañang really ordered to stop the marine exploration of China in the Philippine Rise, the government must seize the data that the Chinese scientists were already able to gather.

“So that foreign country cannot use the same at the expense if the Philippines Security and Development,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, however, believes that marine research in the Philippine Rise must not be stopped but the government must be careful in giving permits to foreign institutions and organizations.

“It’s open for everybody like what DFA stated but when it comes to China, we should be careful because they have the history of grabbing our islands,” Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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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