Philippines calls for immediate release of Myanmar’s democratic leader Suu Kyi

Marje Pelayo   •   March 3, 2021   •   717

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), has called for the immediate release of Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. expressed the country’s deep concern over recent developments in Myanmar as part of the 10-member regional bloc – Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN).

The Myanmar military has taken over the government again after almost a decade of democracy as it accused Suu Kyi of election fraud.

Locsin said  that even though the Philippines acknowledges the role of Myanmar’s army in preserving its territorial integrity and national security, “we equally recognize the unifying role of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her country’s history and in its destiny,” he said.

“Our appeal is not from the outside but from inside what we claim is one family:  a family first of peoples and not of governments; feeling the hurt in one of its members,” he added.

Locsin urged parties involved to settle matters at the negotiating table. And as part of the “family,” he assured that the Philippines, just like the rest of the ASEAN, will be “ready to give what help it is asked by the people and government of Myanmar.”

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.

DFA to look into reports of Chinese vessel chasing television crew

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it will look into reports of a television crew being chased by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement released on Saturday (April 10), the department said it is glad that the television crew and the Filipino vessel are safe. It then advised those planning to visit the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea to coordinate with the Philippine authorities.

In the meantime, the department said it will verify the said reports before taking appropriate action.

“If proven to be true, the Department of Foreign Affairs will raise the matter with the Chinese government,” the statement reads.

A television crew from ABS-CBN on Wednesday (April 7) was about to visit Ayungin Shoal when they were chased down by a Chinese vessel. The crew managed get a video of the said chase which went viral on social media. AAC

DFA brings home 163 more Filipinos from Myanmar

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Yangon, once again chartered another flight from Myanmar with 163 Filipinos on Thursday (April 8).

Most of the repatriates were stranded in the country due to travel restrictions from the pandemic.

This latest chartered flight, along with the previous two from Yangon, were funded by the DFA Assistance-to-Nationals Fund.

The 163 Filipinos from Myanmar included 4 seniors and 14 minors, including 3 infants.

The repatriates will be undergoing quarantine protocols, as required for all those who arrive in the country.

With these new arrivals, the total number of overseas Filipinos who have been repatriated since the start of the pandemic inches closer to 400,000.

From Myanmar, the three chartered flights have now brought home a total of 334 Filipinos.

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