19 Filipino sailors held in Mexico for alleged drug law violation

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1207

Nineteen Filipinos and three Polish nationals who work as sailors of a Cypriot-flagged vessel have been detained in Mexico for allegedly violating the country’s law on illegal drugs.

In a report received by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine Embassy in Mexico said the vessel, UBC Savannah docked in Altamira Port was held on July 27.

The DFA said Embassy representatives were able to speak with seven of the Filipino seafarers currently detained for questioning.

“The group is generally in good spirits, and informed the Embassy representatives that their families have been informed of what happened,” the department said.

Embassy officials are also in close coordination with Mexican authorities and the law firm representing the ship’s crewmembers.

“At this point, no formal charges have been filed against any seafarer,” the DFA said.

The department assured it is ready to provide aid, including legal assistance if necessary, to protect the Filipino seafarers’ right to be heard in court.

“However, should they be found to be guilty by the proper court of the charges against them, they have to face the legal consequences of their actions,” it said.

“The public is likewise reminded that the Philippine government, under the leadership of the President Rodrigo R. Duterte, expects all Filipinos to follow the laws of their countries of destination,” it added.

74 new COVID-19 cases reported among overseas Filipinos — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 74 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), bringing the total number to 8,762 as of Wednesday (July 8).

Most of the new cases reported are in the Middle East, the DFA said. 

Meanwhile, the total number of OFWs under treatment has reached 2,932.

Nineteen new recoveries were also reported, bringing the total of OFWs who have recovered from the disease to 5,237.

However, 13 new deaths were recorded in the Middle East bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities among OFWs to 590.

With the resumption of international flight operations at NAIA Terminal 3 on Wednesday,  the DFA expects a rise in repatriations.

The agency assures its steadfast commitment to effectively facilitating and coordinating the safe return of Filipinos affected by the pandemic.

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31 countries lift inbound border restrictions on Filipino travelers — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that 31 countries have already lifted the inbound border restrictions on Filipino travelers subject to medical protocols.

The latest additions to the list of countries that have recently opened their borders include Bahamas, Egypt, Ethiopia, and UAE.

This is out of 177 nations and territories that declared travel bans due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, the DFA said a total of 68 countries and territories still do not allow entry into their borders such as Cuba, Haiti, Palau, Timor Leste, France, and most countries in the Middle East/Africa, among others.

About 78 countries/territories, despite inbound border closures, give entry exemptions to Filipinos who are citizens of the destination country and returning residents, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with work visas and contracts, diplomatic or UN passport holders going to post or on official travel.

The new update under this category is Macau SAR, with imposed medical protocols.

Likewise, the DFA said the updated list confirms that 138 countries now allow Filipinos to return to the Philippines, subject to flight availability and other special arrangements.

New countries which have allowed departures for the Philippines include the mentioned countries which also recently opened their inbound restrictions.

Meanwhile, with the recent announcement of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on the resumption of international flight operations at NAIA Terminal 3 beginning 12:01 a.m. of July 8, the DFA reiterated that travel restrictions can change without prior public notice.

The DFA advises all travelers to always check ahead of travel dates with the airlines that will be used as well as with relevant embassies or consulates before departure or before booking a ticket.

Alleged drug plane burns on Mexican highway

UNTV News   •   July 6, 2020

Dramatic scenes out of Mexico on Sunday (July 5) as a plane suspected of carrying drugs was reportedly set alight after allegedly being intercepted by soldiers on a highway in Quintana Roo state, according to local reports.

Media reported that the incident took place on Federal Highway 184. Members of the army doing a flyover at the site reportedly spotted the plane before deploying units.

According to some media reports, those aboard set fire to the plane to escape.

Authorities have yet to officially report on the contents of the plane or whether any arrests were made. (Reuters)

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