Search continues for two Filipino tourists missing in Thailand — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019   •   2601

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that two Filipino tourists went missing at Freedom Beach in Phuket, Thailand on Tuesday (July 17).

The DFA through the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok said it is actively monitoring the case after the Royal Thai Police and a group of Filipino tourists notified them of the incident.

According to Ambassador to Thailand Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon, the Embassy immediately made representations with the Thai Police and coordinated with the Filipinos upon receipt of the report.

According to reports, the two Filipinos were at the beach playing in the sea during a heavy storm, when they were swept away and have not been seen since then.

The Embassy assured rescue operations by authorities is ongoing.

The Embassy continues to coordinate with the authorities on the case, as well as respond to the needs of the Filipino family and friends of the two missing Filipinos.

PH Embassy, ready to assist in repatriation of Filipinos amid Delta variant surge in Thailand

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes assured that Filipinos in Thailand are coping with the fresh surge of COVID-19 cases there.

During the Laging Handa Press Briefing on Friday (July 16), Paredes said the Embassy is ready to assist Filipinos in returning to the Philippines in case a travel ban is imposed against their host country.

“Nakahanda na po kami kung anoman ang magiging challenges and again ang magiging resulta nito. Alam na po ng ating Filipino community dito, gayundin ng mga airlines [dahil’ sila din ang nagmomonitor ng flow of passengers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Paredes said there were 30 Filipinos who have contracted COVID-19 in Thailand.

Of the said number, 27 already recovered, two were active cases and one succumbed to the disease just this month.

The envoy said the Embassy is already coordinating with the victim’s family.

Paredes explained that, at present, the country specifically its capital Bangkok is experiencing a third wave of infection.

“Ang pangatlong wave, it happened around March this year. Iyon po ay nakitaan ng pagpasok na ng mga variants. Nagsimula po ‘yan sa 2 high-end bars dito sa Bangkok,” she said.

“Dito po sa Bangkok, nakikitaan nila na ang around 69% [ng cases] ay Delta variant na,” she added.

Currently, Paredes said the Thai government is looking into possible cross-vaccination using available brands like AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

“Thailand PM Prayut Chan-o-cha already said na hindi siya hahadlang at mag-o-object sa mga proposals na magkaroon ng cross vaccination that would involve AstraZeneca, Pfizer,” Paredes said.

Thailand’s Pattaya plans to reopen to tourists, no quarantine requirements

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — One of Thailand’s favorite vacation hotspots is planning to reopen to tourists in the last quarter of the year, without requiring visitors to undergo mandatory quarantine.

In a Facebook post by the National News Bureau of Thailand, Pattaya Mayor Sontaya Kunplome said the decision is part of the “Pattaya, Move on” project

It is also working on having more COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate at least 70% of local residents.

The mayor said foreign tourists who have received two vaccine doses will be allowed to enter Pattaya without the need to quarantine for 14 days.

However, they must stay in Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts for seven days before traveling elsewhere in the province.

He added that only tourists from countries considered low risk of COVID-19 infection declared by the Public Health Ministry will be allowed.

They must receive vaccines and endorsed by their countries by no longer than one year before travel to Pattaya.

The mayor said the project will be implemented under standard operating procedures for international arrivals which include COVID-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes.

Proposals for the reopening of the province to tourists will be presented to the Public Health Ministry and then endorsed next month to Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration for approval.

Supporters’ trust in Duterte unaffected by his off-the cuff remarks — expert

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos still trust President Rodrigo Duterte despite his seemingly contradictory statements about the West Philippine Sea.

According to Dr. Ador Torneo, a political science professor at the De La Salle University, Duterte’s supporters remain unfazed by the mounting criticisms against the president over his controversial remarks.

“Ayon sa pag-aaral namin, ang mga kababayan natin na matindi ang paniniwala, matindi ang kanilang tinatawag na partisanship o pagsuporta sa Presidente ay hindi natitinag kahit lumabas na magsabi siya ng mga bagay na sa huli ay mapapatunayan na hindi totoo or pwede niyang sabihing joke o lumabas na nagsabi siya ng hindi totoo,” Torneo said.

In his public address on Monday, May 10, Duterte called his 2016 promise of riding a jetski and planting a Philippine flag on  Spratly Islands, a “campaign joke”.

“Panahon ‘yan sa kampanya. At saka ‘yung biro na ‘yun, ‘yung bravado ko, it was a pure campaign joke at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila — pati na siguro si Carpio — I would say you are really stupid,” the President said.

Still, Torneo said the administration should be cautious when making any statement regarding the disputed territory.

“So kapag ang pangulo nagsasabi ng mga bagay na ganito potentially undermines, nakokompromiso yung ating position sa international audience at napakalaking bagay nito,” he said.

“Bakit? Sapagkat ang gobyerno ng China sa mga susunod na panahon ay maaari nilang i-quote mismo sa bibig ng presidente ng Pilipinas na ganito ang sinabi at pwede nilang palabasin sa kanilang argumento na ito ang posisyon ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas,” Torneo added.  (With reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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