President Duterte halts foreign marine exploration in Philippine Rise

UNTV News   •   February 7, 2018   •   3681

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson, Secretary Harry Roque has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Filipino scientists to have an exclusive marine researching the Philippine Rise and ordered the cancellation of pending foreign applications for research.

The President himself raised the issue at last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

Malacañang said this is to assert the sovereign rights of the country over the Philippine Rise.

“I confirm that the President ordered that henceforth, only Filipino scientists are allowed to do scientific research, lay submarine cables and explore and exploit natural resources in the Philippine Rise,” Roque said.

The government, however, clarified that the freedom of navigation in the area remains.

It also does not mention if the government plans to provide a budget to support the research of Filipino scientists in the extended continental shelf.

Malacañang also reported that currently, all scientific research of other counties in the area are already finished.

All in all, there have been 46 foreign research applications in the Philippine Rise from the year 2000, of which 28 were approved including the two applications from a Chinese foreign institution.

However, scientists of foreign institutions may still conduct research in the Philippine Rise if the National Security Council particularly National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon permits it.

“Any foreign entity who wishes to conduct research can apply to the usual body and in addition, there must be personal approval of the National Security Adviser,” said Roque.

In his Facebook post, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said President Duterte gave a directive to the Department of National Defense to deploy ships as well as the Philippine Airforce to conduct flyovers and monitor the area.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said if Malacañang really ordered to stop the marine exploration of China in the Philippine Rise, the government must seize the data that the Chinese scientists were already able to gather.

“So that foreign country cannot use the same at the expense if the Philippines Security and Development,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, however, believes that marine research in the Philippine Rise must not be stopped but the government must be careful in giving permits to foreign institutions and organizations.

“It’s open for everybody like what DFA stated but when it comes to China, we should be careful because they have the history of grabbing our islands,” Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Philippines tells China to ‘back off’ after incident in Ayungin Shoal

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — “The acts of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels are illegal. China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin issued this statement reflecting his distaste in the recent standoff between the Philippine vessels and the Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday, November 16.

In a Twitter post, the DFA said three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats en route to transport food supplies to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).

No one was hurt in the encounter but the Philippine troops had to abort their resupply mission.

“I have conveyed in the strongest terms to H.E. Huang Xilian, Ambassador of China and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing our outrage, condemnation, and protest of the incident,” Secretary Locsin said.

“I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.

The DFA chief maintained that “Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as  the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”

Locsin added that the Chinese Coast Guard’s failure to exercise self-restraint would eventually harm the special relationship between the two countries which President Rodrigo R. Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping have worked hard to nurture.

The Philippines, Locsin said, will continue to provide supplies to its military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).

“We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” Locsin reiterated. —/mbmf


DFA reminds public: Appointment still required for passport, apostille services

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reminds the public that all of its consular offices, including temporary off-site passport service facilities, still require an appointment for either passport or apostille services.

In an advisory, the DFA said even those availing the courtesy lane privilege also need to make an appointment.

“The appointment requirement has been in effect since May 2020 as part of the DFA’s efforts to provide continuous services in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the department said.

The DFA issued the reminder after an old advisory stating that no appointment is needed for Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) intending to renew their passports at DFA CO NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Ave., Quezon City) circulated online.

“This is an old advisory issued in 2016, before the pandemic, and is no longer applicable,” it said.

The DFA also stressed that walk-ins are no longer allowed in DFA CO NCR Central and in all DFA COs and TOPS facilities, in view of the current health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid any inconvenience, the agency advised active OFWs to get an appointment through by choosing DFA NCR Central (Robinsons Galleria – Active OFW Lane) site.

Active OFWs may refer to this announcement for guidance:

“The public is strongly advised to refer only to the official website and social media accounts of the DFA for updated announcements,” the DFA said.


Online passport tracker taken down over data privacy issue – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it has taken down its online passport tracker over data privacy issue.

In a statement, the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs said it has taken down the tracker and all its data sources after it was made aware of the issue on Tuesday to avoid further data broadcasting.

“The DFA’s IT Unit is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this issue and is taking appropriate measures to secure the data that may have been exposed,” the department said.

“An internal audit will also be conducted to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” it added.

A news outlet earlier reported that a misconfiguration in the DFA system could expose thousands of user data, including applicants’ name, passport number and other personal details.

The news report said a concerned citizen “accidentally” discovered the issue in the platform.

DFA’s online passport tracker is a platform that allows applicants to view the status of their passport application. It was launched on September 11, 2021.

“DFA-OCA assures the public that it continues to prioritize the protection and privacy of the data it handles in accordance with the Data Privacy Act of 2021 (Republic Act No. 10173) and is working with the National Privacy Commission in resolving this issue,” the department said.

It advised passport applicants to contact the DFA on the following details regarding the status of their applications and other concerns:

Email addresses:
Hotlines: 09773533942, 09619432021, 09560526290 or (02) 8651-9400


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