Domestic staff no longer allowed to go with PH envoys abroad — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 3, 2021   •   416

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino diplomats are no longer allowed to bring domestic staff with them, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs no longer allows domestic staff to go with officers assigned abroad.

DFA officials must now apply for approval from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration which shall set $400 or $600 as minimum salary deposited to the domestic worker’s bank account.

This came after the dismissal from service of former Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on video maltreating her household staff.

On Monday (March 1), President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he has approved Mauro’s dismissal. 

As a consequence, Mauro is scrapped of her right to enter civil service or hold public positions. All her retirement benefits have also been forfeited.

Duterte dismisses former ambassador to Brazil

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the dismissal of former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

In his public address on Monday (March 1), Duterte said he signed the document affirming the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) fact-finding team to dismiss Mauro.

“I signed the document affirming the decision,” he said.

The decision metes out dismissal from the service that carries with it accessory penalties such as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, the President said.

DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr., meanwhile, described the President’s decision as “harsh”.

“It was a harsh decision affirming DFA’s decision and penalties TO THE LETTER against what was a fine diplomat. While her temper got the better of her in that case, she treated a self-important young diplomat the same way and his lousy character completely changed for the better,” he said on his Twitter post on Tuesday.

The president ordered the DFA to conduct an investigation on Mauro in October 2020 after a video showing Mauro abusing her Filipina helper in Brazil became viral.

The video was released by a Brazilian news platform Globo News in September last year showing CCTV footage where Mauro was physically abusing her 51-year-old household help at the Philippine ambassador’s official residence in Brasilia. —/mbmf

Philippines protests China’s new law allowing coast guard to fire on foreign vessels

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a diplomatic protest over China’s new law allowing its coast guard to fire on a foreign vessel in areas it claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin broke out the news in a tweet on Wednesday (January 27).

The new Chinese law was passed and adopted on January 23, 2021, authorizes the China Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

It covers the South China Sea where several Southeast Asian nations are into a territorial conflict.

Locsin said such a law can be likened to a “verbal threat of war” to any country that would defy it.

China’s new legislation is expected to escalate tensions anew among claimants in the disputed territory including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Locsin turns down PCG request for own attaché in Beijing

Marje Pelayo   •   August 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr. expressed opposition to the request of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to assign a Coast Guard attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing.

On Wednesday (August 26), Locsin on Twitter straightforwardly said “no” to the proposal, saying the country has a Defense attaché for national defense issues and assigning another position would only compromise the country’s sovereignty over its coastal seas.

In response to Locsin, the PCG explained that such a request was approved during the time of former Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Elson Hermogino and recommended by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to Locsin’s office on October 29, 2019.

It was anchored on the memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Coast Guard on the establishment of a joint committee to enhance cooperation “to strengthen mutual trust, deepen confidence, intensify communication, and enhance friendly cooperation between two countries.”

The PCG said an attaché, “would be the focal person in bilateral and multilateral engagements on the setting up of the committee, particularly in maritime search and rescue, law enforcement, security, and marine environmental protection.”

Nonetheless, while the PCG believes that the establishment of said post will significantly strengthen maritime cooperation between the Philippines and China, PCG spokesperson, Commodore Armand Balilo said the service fully respects the decision of Secretary Locsin on the matter and vows to continue to find ways to further secure the country’s maritime domain.

PCG PRESS STATEMENT26 August 2020 This is in response to the statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin…

Posted by Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday, 26 August 2020

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