DFA to begin repatriation of OFWs in Lebanon Dec. 21

Marje Pelayo   •   December 20, 2019   •   1442

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is expediting the process of repatriating overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in crisis-hit Lebanon.

The agency has sent a three-man Rapid Response Team to the said country to augment the capacity of the Philippine Embassy in Beirut for the Philippine government’s voluntary repatriation program.

A large number of OFWs in Lebanon requested assistance to return home as the Western Asian nation struggles to recover from the current financial crisis there.

The first batch of repatriates will depart Lebanon on Saturday (December 21), the DFA confirmed.

DFA temporarily closes some passport service sites amid rising COVID cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday announced it will be temporarily closing some of its consular offices amid increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

In an advisory, the DFA said its Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), Consular Offices (COs) and Temporary Off-Site Passport Services (TOPS) sites will temporarily suspend operations from January 10 to 20, 2022 due to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases among their personnel.

During the temporary suspension of operations, no passport or Apostille applications will be processed or released, the DFA said.

Operations shall resume on January 21, 2022.

Kindly direct any inquiries to the Consular Office where the application was filed, the department said.

The following offices will be closed from January 10 to 20:

  • CO La Union (January 10-14)
  • CO NCR East
  • CO NCR North
  • TOPS Robinsons Novaliches

The following offices will be closed from January 12 to 20, 2022:

  • DFA Office of Consular Affairs in Aseana Business Park, Paranaque City
  • CO NCR Central
  • CO NCR Northeast
  • CO NCR South
  • CO NCR West
  • CO Antipolo
  • CO Angeles
  • CO Baguio
  • CO Dasmarinas
  • CO Iloilo
  • CO Lucena
  • CO Malolos
  • CO San Pablo
  • TOPS Newport Mall
  • TOPS Robinsons Las Pinas
  • TOPS Robinsons San Pedro Laguna
  • TOPS SM Manila
  • TOPS SM MOA
  • TOPS SM North EDSA

Affected Passport and Apostille applicants originally scheduled from January 12 to 20, 2022 at DFA Aseana are advised to refer to their new schedule of appointments posted at the DFA website.

“Please expect an email with further details about your appointment which will be sent to the email address you used when you booked your application,” the DFA said.

DFA restricts entry of unvaccinated passport applicants in Alert Level 3 malls

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Persons unvaccinated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Consular Offices and Temporary Off-Site Passport Services in malls in areas under Alert Level 3, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday announced.

In a statement, the DFA said the prohibition, which also covers minors, was due to the restrictions imposed by malls hosting the Consular offices and off-site passport services.

“Consular Offices are unable to override the host malls’ security and health protocols,” the department said.

The department advised unvaccinated applicants, including minors, to first check the regulations of the relevant malls before proceeding to their appointments.

Applicants may also reschedule their appointments after having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or after malls and local government units have lifted the entry restriction on unvaccinated persons.

“The department requests the public’s cooperation as it strives to deliver passport services to the public while ensuring the people’s safety and health amidst the ongoing pandemic,” the DFA said.

Metro Manila and nearby areas of Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal are under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 until January 15 amid rising cases of COVID-19.

Filipinos, Americans top holiday arrivals

Maris Federez   •   December 27, 2021

PASAY, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday reported that Filipinos top airport arrivals for December 2021.

BI data showed that 141,216 Filipinos, mostly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived during the holiday season, according to a BI statement released December 27.

This was followed by Americans with 12,455 arrivals, Canadians with 2,805, and Japanese with 1,645.

“This is expected since many of our kababayans who are now living abroad wish to spend the holidays here with their families,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong, meanwhile, said that arrivals for December 24 and 25 doubled compared to last year’s figures.

“Last year, there were only 5,478 arrivals for the two days, while this year, it increased 100% to 11,074 for the Christmas eve and Christmas day,” said Capulong.

“While the numbers are still relatively low, we are confident that this increase will continue until next year, given the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign,” he stated.

Capulong also thanked immigration officers who were on duty during the holiday.

“Our officers sacrifice their time with their families to render their duty and provide service for incoming and outgoing passengers,” said Capulong.

Frontliners were barred from going on vacations during the peak season, the statement said.

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