15 Filipino seafarers return home after being stranded in India for 5 months

admin   •   November 20, 2018   •   2472

 

Filipino seafarers arrive home

MANILA, Philippines —After being stranded for almost five months at the port of Kakinada in India, 15 of the 21 abandoned Filipino seafarers have finally returned home to the Philippines on Saturday, November 17.

The 21 seafarers first sought the help of UNTV in October, having been abandoned by their bankrupt employer and deprived of three months worth of salary.

Meanwhile, the six other crew members are still in Kakinada including the group’s leader, Captain Alexander Apao.

They could not leave until the Admiral Shipping Agency is able to find Indian nationals who will replace them.

There would have been willing applicants but the agency refused their condition of advance payment, causing the remaining six Filipinos to be stuck a little longer in India.

The Department of Foreign Affairs assured that the remaining six Filipino seafarers will eventually make it home too after they secure their exit clearances.

The Philippine Embassy in New Delhi and the Consulate General in Chennai are working on expediting the men’s cases so that they can finally receive the benefits they deserve.  — JL Asayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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WHO issues emergency use listing for India’s Covaxin COVID-19 jab

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 4, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, Nov. 3, granted emergency use listing (EUL) to India’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin.

Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, is the eight COVID-19 vaccine validated by WHO.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommended that Covaxin should be used in two doses, with a dose interval of four weeks, in all age groups 18 and above.

The said vaccine was found to have 78% efficacy against COVID-19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose, and is extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements.

WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products Dr. Mariângela Simão said Covaxin was assessed under the WHO EUL procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk management plan and programmatic suitability.

“This emergency use listing expands the availability of vaccines, the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic. We must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of all populations, giving priority to the at-risk groups who are still waiting for their first dose, before we can start declaring victory,” Simão said.

Meanwhile, available data on vaccination of pregnant women with the vaccine are insufficient to assess vaccine safety or efficacy in pregnancy; studies in pregnant women are planned, including a pregnancy sub-study and a pregnancy registry. AAC

 

 

 

 

PCG boosts recruitment to strengthen PH maritime security

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is continuously recruiting to achieve the ideal number of 72,000 personnel in order to fully execute its mandate of protecting the country’s 36,000 kilometer long coastline.

The PCG said there have been sightings of Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

PCG Commandant VADM Leopoldo Laroya said tensions between PCG personnel and Chinese mariners do occur at times.

“Mayroon pakonti-konti na nilalapitan ng [Philippine] Coast Guard. We also maintain a constant patrol in the area and when challenged, they sometimes challenge our challenge but in the end they leave,” he said.

The PCG was able to increase its force from 7,000 personnel in 2016 to 20,600 coast guards this year.

In 2021 alone, the PCG was able to hire around 4,000 new recruits.

In the next five years, the agency is confident of having around 36,000 personnel.

Aside from border security, the PCG is also focused on assisting all returning overseas Filipinos.

“Marami kaming tao na nagkaka-COVID pero meron din namang kapalit. And all our people are being taken care of,” Laroya assured.

As for seafarers, the Maritime Industry Authority (MIA) through the Commission on Higher Eduction (CHED) is requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to allow face-to-face classes for maritime students.

The agency said the pandemic has prevented the industry from producing new seafarer-graduates for two years in a row.

“Hanggang ngayon hindi allowed yung ODT aboardship. So habang wala pang guidance to allow it, then we will continue not to graduate our Filipino seafarers,” explained MIA Administrator VADM Robert Empedrad.

The official said it is still to the advantage of the Philippines to have sufficient number of seafarers for its local maritime operations. MNP (with Rey Pelayo)

Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

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