DFA protests over 200 ‘unlawful’ radio challenges by Chinese vessels

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021   •   204

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has filed another diplomatic protest over “provocative acts” by Chinese government vessels, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In its official social media post, the DFA said it protested “the unlawful issuance of over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns by Chinese government vessels against Philippine authorities conducting legitimate, customary, and routine patrols over the West Philippine Sea.”

The department added that “these provocative acts threaten the peace, good order, and security of the South China Sea and run contrary to China’s obligations under international law.”

The DFA has yet to release detailed information regarding the said protest. AAC

Philippines tells China to ‘back off’ after incident in Ayungin Shoal

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — “The acts of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels are illegal. China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin issued this statement reflecting his distaste in the recent standoff between the Philippine vessels and the Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday, November 16.

In a Twitter post, the DFA said three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats en route to transport food supplies to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).

No one was hurt in the encounter but the Philippine troops had to abort their resupply mission.

“I have conveyed in the strongest terms to H.E. Huang Xilian, Ambassador of China and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing our outrage, condemnation, and protest of the incident,” Secretary Locsin said.

“I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.

The DFA chief maintained that “Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as  the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”

Locsin added that the Chinese Coast Guard’s failure to exercise self-restraint would eventually harm the special relationship between the two countries which President Rodrigo R. Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping have worked hard to nurture.

The Philippines, Locsin said, will continue to provide supplies to its military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).

“We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” Locsin reiterated. —/mbmf

 

DFA reminds public: Appointment still required for passport, apostille services

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reminds the public that all of its consular offices, including temporary off-site passport service facilities, still require an appointment for either passport or apostille services.

In an advisory, the DFA said even those availing the courtesy lane privilege also need to make an appointment.

“The appointment requirement has been in effect since May 2020 as part of the DFA’s efforts to provide continuous services in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the department said.

The DFA issued the reminder after an old advisory stating that no appointment is needed for Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) intending to renew their passports at DFA CO NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Ave., Quezon City) circulated online.

“This is an old advisory issued in 2016, before the pandemic, and is no longer applicable,” it said.

The DFA also stressed that walk-ins are no longer allowed in DFA CO NCR Central and in all DFA COs and TOPS facilities, in view of the current health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid any inconvenience, the agency advised active OFWs to get an appointment through https://passport.gov.ph/ by choosing DFA NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria – Active OFW Lane) site.

Active OFWs may refer to this announcement for guidance: https://bit.ly/3zSRJ6B.

“The public is strongly advised to refer only to the official website and social media accounts of the DFA for updated announcements,” the DFA said.

 

Online passport tracker taken down over data privacy issue – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it has taken down its online passport tracker over data privacy issue.

In a statement, the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs said it has taken down the tracker and all its data sources after it was made aware of the issue on Tuesday to avoid further data broadcasting.

“The DFA’s IT Unit is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this issue and is taking appropriate measures to secure the data that may have been exposed,” the department said.

“An internal audit will also be conducted to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” it added.

A news outlet earlier reported that a misconfiguration in the DFA system could expose thousands of user data, including applicants’ name, passport number and other personal details.

The news report said a concerned citizen “accidentally” discovered the issue in the platform.

DFA’s online passport tracker is a platform that allows applicants to view the status of their passport application. It was launched on September 11, 2021.

“DFA-OCA assures the public that it continues to prioritize the protection and privacy of the data it handles in accordance with the Data Privacy Act of 2021 (Republic Act No. 10173) and is working with the National Privacy Commission in resolving this issue,” the department said.

It advised passport applicants to contact the DFA on the following details regarding the status of their applications and other concerns:

Email addresses: passportconcerns@dfa.gov.phoca@dfa.gov.ph
Hotlines: 09773533942, 09619432021, 09560526290 or (02) 8651-9400
Facebook: facebook.com/dfaphl
Twitter: twitter.com/DFAPHL, twitter.com/DFAOCA
Instagram: instagram.com/dfaphl

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