Two Filipinos trafficked into Iraq back in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020   •   825

DFA-OUMWA welcomes home two more Filipinos from Baghdad, Iraq. Both are victims of human trafficking. The Philippine government shouldered their airfare and exit visa. Fifteen Filipinos have been brought home since mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in Iraq was declared on January 8, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipino women who were trafficked into Iraq have returned to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

In a statement, the DFA said the two females who repatriated from Baghdad, Iraq arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday afternoon.

Department representatives welcomed the two repatriates who were both victims of human trafficking.

The DFA said a total of 15 Filipinos have been brought home since the government ordered for mandatory repatriation of Filipino workers in Iraq last January 8.

The mandatory evacuation order was triggered by the hoisting of alert level 4 due to the security threats in the Middle East.

The alert level for Filipinos in Iraq was raised after Iran launched a series of ballistic missile attacks on Iraq’s bases, where US forces were located.

Iran’s firing of rockets was in retaliation for the death of top military general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last January 3.

On the same day, more than 170 passengers were killed after Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane while on alert after its missile attack against US forces.

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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7 alleged human trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) recently intercepted seven Filipinos who were suspected of being victims of human trafficking.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Filipino women were bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The agency’s travel control and enforcement unit stopped the women from leaving last Sept. 17 when they were about to board a flight to Dubai.

The bureau said three of the women were allegedly hired to work as caregivers in the UAE while the remaining four were recruited to work as marketing and sales agents for an interior design company.

The women attempted to leave by posing as first-time overseas Filipino workers but the papers they presented turned out to be fraudulent, the BI added.

“Verification made on the overseas employment certificates (OECs) they presented revealed that some of them are not in the records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), while the others appear to have been issued to other persons,” BI-TCEU Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said.

A check of the passengers’ UAE visas showed that they were traveling to Dubai only as tourists and not as workers, she added.

The women, whose names could not be divulged following anti-trafficking laws, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for assistance and further investigation.

Morente once again warned those who want to work abroad not to deal with unregistered agencies or recruiters as these shady characters are employed by human traffickers to recruit their victims.

“We were told that these intercepted victims all said that they met their handlers and recruiters via social media and that their travel papers were only handed to them a few days before their scheduled flights,” he said.

“They did not know that these fraudulent papers could result in interception by our officers,” he added.

The BI chief earlier said that human traffickers have resumed their nefarious activities despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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