DFA warns vs ‘travel exemption fee’ scam targeting foreigners

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2020   •   738

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday warned the public against a travel fee scam targeting foreign nationals who wish to enter the Philippines amid imposed travel restrictions.

In an advisory the DFA said they received reports of a “travel exemption fee” that supposedly allows the entry of foreign nationals into the country.

The DFA reiterated that it does not collect such fees “or any kind of fee whatsoever for the purpose of allowing foreign nationals to enter the country.”

“Foreign nationals should be guided by the latest advisory of the Bureau of Immigration as to who are allowed to enter the Philippines during the State of Public Health Emergency,” the advisory reads.

The foreign affairs department also said travel restrictions are still being implemented in the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. AAC

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

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

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, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

DFA to open additional off-site registration offices for passport applications

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will open additional off-site registration offices for passport applications.

Foreign Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the department’s passport application process. Adherence to IATF protocols regarding physical distancing, has limited the number of applicants they can accommodate in offices.

Hindi tayo makapagpapasok at makapagproseso ng mas maraming tao sa aming mga gusali sapagkat tayo ay dapat tumugon at sumunod sa IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] protocols ukol sa physical distancing (We cannot allow entry and process a lot of applications in offices because we are adhering to the IATF protocols regarding social distancing),” he said.

Only 1.7 million passports were released last year due to the pandemic compared with 4 million recorded in 2019.

To recover from the backlogs, the DFA will open temporary off-site passport services in San Pedro, Laguna; Cebu City, Davao City, and Lipa City.

Dulay said that the DFA is set to open 17 off-site offices by the end of the year. He also added that the department will deploy additional staff to handle the issue of misinformation concerning the delivery address of passport applicants. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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