DFA to fly home remains of 4 Filipino workers found in Libya

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021   •   423

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to start arrangements to fly home the remains of four Filipinos found in Libya, six years after they were reported abducted by ISIS militants.

Philippine Embassy in Tripoli Chargé d’Affaires and Head of Mission Elmer Cato said the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) has conveyed the latest development to the victims’ families in the Philippines and will make arrangements for forensics experts to assist in identifying the remains and bringing them home. 

“After six long years, the families of our four kababayans will finally find closure,” Cato said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said the Filipino workers, identified as Donato Santiago, Gregorio Titan, Roldan Blaza, and Wilson Eligue, were forcibly taken with two co-workers from Austria and the Czech Republic by ISIS extremists who attacked the Ghani Oil Field in southern Libya on March 6, 2015.

Cato said nothing much had been heard from the kidnapped foreign oil workers until a video showing their execution was found in a laptop seized from slain ISIS fighters in Derna two years later.

The six had since been presumed dead although their bodies were never recovered. 

Sometime in 2018, Cato said the Embassy was informed that the remains of the four missing Filipinos could be among those that have been recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent Society in various parts of Derna and later buried there. 

“However, due to the unstable security situation, the Embassy was not able to send a team to Derna to search for the four Filipinos,” Cato said.

“It was only in October that Embassy officials were able to travel to Benghazi and request the assistance of authorities in finding the four,” he added.

Cato said that on March 1, the Libyan military led Embassy officials in locating the bodies of the four Filipinos that were buried in Dahr Ahmar Islamic Cemetery, 10 kilometers from Derna.

The DFA official has expressed gratitude for the assistance extended by Libyan authorities.

DFA logs highest number of new COVID cases, recoveries among overseas Filipinos on April 13

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported on Tuesday (April 13) 889 additional cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Filipinos abroad.

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among overseas Filipinos to 18,001.

Meanwhile, more Filipinos have recovered from the disease with the DFA recording a total of 913 recoveries, raising the total number of COVID survivors among overseas Filipinos to 11,038.

The figures are the highest recorded confirmed cases and recoveries this year.

However, COVID deaths among Filipinos overseas is currently at 1,113 including 30 new fatalities reported today.

The DFA said the reported spike is due to an increase in confirmed cases and recoveries in the Middle East.

The DFA,  together with its Foreign Service Posts, assured to continue to partner with host governments to ensure the safety and well-being of our nationals abroad amidst the pandemic.

DFA summons Chinese Ambassador over Julian Felipe Reef issue

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it summoned China’s ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian over the Julian Felipe Reef issue.

In a statement, the DFA expressed displeasure over the “illegal lingering” presence of Chinese vessels in the said territory in the West Philippines Sea.

Through DFA Acting Undersecretary Elizabeth Buensuceso, the DFA stressed that Julian Felipe Reef lies within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of the Philippines.

The DFA also noted the ‘untoward statements’ of the Chinese Embassy spokesperson on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and reminded of the proper decorum and manners in the conduct of their duties as guests here in the Philippines.

The DFA reiterated the Philippines’ firm demand to China to immediately remove all of its vessels from Julian Felipe Reef and from other areas covered by the Philippine maritime zone.

‼️READ‼️ DFA Summons Chinese Ambassador, Expresses Utmost Displeasure over Julian Felipe Reef Issue

#DFAForgingAhead

Posted by Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines on Monday, April 12, 2021

DFA consular offices in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal on skeleton force under MECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The consular offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the National Capital Region and in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will have skeleton work teams beginning Monday (April 12) for the duration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to attend to emergency or urgent cases only.

Specifically, this setup takes effect in consular offices in Metro Manila (including the Office of Consular Affairs in Aseana, Parañaque City), Antipolo, Dasmariñas, Malolos and San Pablo City.

The DFA reminds the public that passport and authentication appointments affected by the ECQ and MECQ declaration will be provided with schedules of alternative dates.

Emails will be sent to concerned passport and authentication applicants with their new appointment schedule.

Affected applicants are advised to refer to the email and the DFA’s Advisories #5 and #6 on its website to know the accommodation schedule that will be followed.

“We again advise that schedules may still be subject to change if current MECQ restrictions continue or if local governments and mall partners which host these COs implement restrictions on access,” the agency said.

The public is advised to check DFA’s website for the latest update on the schedules of consular offices.

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