Apr 092014
President Benigno S. Aquino III huddles with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 76 women’s volleyball champion Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Lady Eagles, led by Season and Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Alyssa Valdez, for a selfie shot during the group’s courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (April 03). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III huddles with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 76 women’s volleyball champion Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Lady Eagles, led by Season and Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Alyssa Valdez, for a selfie shot during the group’s courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (April 03). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III administered the oath of office of newly appointed ambassadors and government officials in a ceremony at Malacanang’s Rizal Hall on Monday.

The newly appointed ambassadors were former Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez as Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Petronila Garcia as Philippine Ambassador to Canada, and Joseph Gerald Angeles as Philippine Ambassador to South Africa.

Under the Department of Foreign Affairs, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Jesus Yabes and Special Envoy of the President to the Gulf Cooperative Council Amable Aguiluz were also sworn into office.

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Eduardo Oban and Marciano Paynor Jr. were both sworn in as Undersecretaries under the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Other officials who took their oath of office were Jess Anthony Yu as Undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office; Jose Emmanuel Reverente as Undersecretary of the Department of Finance; Edwin Carillo as Assistant Government Corporate Counsel under the Department of Justice; Victorio Mario Dimagiba as Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry; Rodolfo Isorena as Vice Admiral of the Philippine Coast Guard under the Department of Transportation and Communications; and Luie Tito Guia as Commissioner of the Commission on Elections. (MNS)

Apr 092014
Victim's brother also accuses arrested Italian diplomat of abuse

The elder brother of one of the minors allegedly  molested by Italian Ambassador to Turkmenistan Daniele Bosio claimed he was also abused by the diplomat, a report on “24 Oras” said Wednesday. The 13-year-old boy said Bosio invited him and other children to the place where he was staying with the promise of giving them food, clothes and P1,000 cash. But upon arriving at the place, Bosio allegedly locked them in the shower and bathed them while taking pictures, the report said. The victim’s father said one of the friends of his children was acting as their pimp. “Mayroon pong isang taong bugaw. Bata rin na kalaro din nila. Galit na galit din ‘yung isang magulang bakit daw sila silang magkakabarkada nagkakabugawan pa,” he said. His younger son, who was reportedly victimized by Bosio in a resort in Biñan, Laguna, is currently under the care of the city welfare office, the report said. “Parang binaboy niya yung pagkatao ng anak ko. Dapat talaga sa kanya makulong,” he said. Bosio, who was in the Philippines for a vacation, was arrested last Saturday while in the resort together with three minors. Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs suspended him from his diplomat duties following his arrest. — Andrei Medina/KBK, GMA News

Jan 232014
Palace assures assistance to OFWs allegedly abused in Malaysia

By Nestor CorralesINQUIRER.net 5:01 pm | Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Thursday assured the public it will call the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to check the alleged abuses committed against Filipinos in Malaysia. This was after a Palace reporter recounted the experience of his brother being maltreated by Malaysian authorities in line with the nationwide crackdown on illegal migrants. “We will call the priority attention of the DFA on this. We need to get the particulars because if we will just present about the general situation, we would not be able to trace this,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Thursday in a press briefing. Coloma said the government could not tolerate violation of basic human rights committed against Filipino citizens. He, however, pointed out the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to receive reports from the Philippine embassy in Malaysia on the said incident reports. He cited they need details of the incident reports of maltreatment before filing any case against Malaysian authorities. “These allegations are serious that is why we need to have enough evidence of the maltreatment and violence to our citizens,” he said. He assured the public especially our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Malaysia the government is doing the necessary steps to give justice to the maltreated OFWs. He said our government is respecting the rights of foreigners in our country so he expects that other countries should do the same. A nationwide Read More …

Jan 052014
Non-machine readable passports to be phased out by late 2015 – DFA

Philippine Passport Biometric Data Page from Wikimedia Commons. The Department of Foreign Affairs said on-machine readable passports to be phased out by late by 2015. MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The use of all non-machine readable passports will not be extended beyond 31 October 2015 and must be completely phased out by 24 November 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs said recently. Citing its own regulations and the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), DFA said all Filipino nationals holding machine readable-ready passports (MRRP, green passports) and machine readable passports (MRP, maroon passports) will no longer be allowed to apply for an extension of the validity of these passports after 31 October 2014. All Filipinos are told to apply for a new e-Passport as soon as possible before the expiry of their current MRRP (green) or MRP (maroon) passports. Those who fail to do so will likely encounter difficulty at immigration checks when traveling through any ports of entry around the world after October 2015, DFA said. Passport holders are also reminded that there are strict rules for applying for an extension of the validity of expiring or expired passports. Passports that are valid for less than six months or those that have already expired may be extended once only in the following instances: death in the family requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Philippines; medical emergencies requiring the OFW and members of his/her dependent family to urgently travel to the Read More …

Dec 172013
Kerry arrives in Tacloban, media kept away

US committed to helping PHL in security – Kerry. US Secretary of State John Kerry answers questions during a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario after their bilateral meeting in Pasay City on Tuesday, December 17. Kerry, in the country for a two-day visit, said the US is committed to helping the Philippines address its most pressing security challenges. Danny Pata US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived before noon in Tacloban City, one of the areas hit hardest by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last month. Security was tight at the Tacloban City airport as Kerry and his aides alighted from the plane, radio dzBB reported. Media representatives were kept at a distance and could not follow Kerry and his party, the report said. Kerry and his party proceeded to the Department of Social Welfare and Development hub in Tacloban after arrival, state-run Philippine Information Agency reported. The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday said Kerry will oversee Washington’s ongoing relief efforts in Tacloban in the Visayas. Kerry will also meet the victims of Yolanda as well as those involved in the relief effort, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said. Kerry arrived in the Philippines Tuesday and met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. He also paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang. —KG, GMA News

Oct 252013
Palace: De Lima move to cancel passports has basis

The move of the Department of Justice to have the passports of lawmakers and other personalities linked to the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam canceled is “not without basis,” Malacañang said Saturday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the DOJ’s move stemmed from the fact that some of those linked to the scam had already fled abroad before charges were filed against them. “The move is also not without basis in the sense that we’ve seen that some of those who have been slapped with charges regarding the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam had left the country,” she said on government-run dzRB radio. She added the public should understand the move of the DOJ since there are fears they would no longer be in the country to stand trial. On the other hand, she said this [cancellation of passports] is not yet final as the Department of Foreign Affairs is still studying it. For now, she said it is up to the DFA to decide on the matter. “The greater public understands the initiative of the DOJ. Whether that will be cleared by the DFA is another thing,” she said. Valte also said a hold-departure order is not the solution because only the court can issue it. She also said the DOJ’s watch-list power is now the subject of a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court. “At the end of the day what matters is sinusundan natin may basis (At the end of the day, what matters is that we Read More …

Aug 132013
Marooned in Malta, 21 Filipino seamen seek help

By Tarra QuismundoPhilippine Daily Inquirer 9:35 pm | Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said Maltese authorities just recently granted the ship entry into its waters, providing it fuel to enter its territory. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — Twenty-one Filipino seafarers aboard a cargo ship have been adrift off the port of Malta for months and are seeking compensation from Taiwanese employers alleged to have virtually abandoned them at sea with no fuel and limited food and water. The Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday two members of the Philippine embassy in Rome, which also services Malta, checked on the seafarers aboard the stranded MV A Lady Bug, a Taiwanese-owned carrier of cars and trucks, and brought them some supplies. The seafarers told the embassy representatives they would appreciate repatriation assistance but only after they receive pending wages from their employer. “The Embassy team boarded on August 11, Sunday, A Lady Bug, personally checked on the condition of the seafarers and brought them supplies such as noodles, drinking water and specific medicines,” said DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez Tuesday. During the meeting of the Embassy team with the seafarers, the seafarers said they wished to be repatriated as soon as possible, but only after their pending claim for back salaries and other benefits from the management of the ship are fully settled,” Hernandez said in a press briefing. MV A Lady Bug, a Panamanian-registered vehicle carrier had been adrift “for months” some 15 nautical Read More …

Jul 222013
Lack of mention of China during SONA ‘good judgment’ - DFA

Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Monday said he was glad President Benigno Aquino III made no mention of the territorial disputes with China in his fourth State of the Nation Address. “I think it was good judgment on the President’s part not to mention it,” Del Rosario said on the sidelines of the SONA at the Batasan Complex. “It’s like when you’re in dispute and you’re already in court, you really don’t discuss the issue.” “I think the plans are clear, because the train has left the station. We filed for arbitration and we’re waiting for the process to continue,” he added. The Philippines sought arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) last January to have China’s nine-dash claim declared “illegal.” China’s territorial claims cover almost all the South China Sea, including sections that have been declared as the West Philippine Sea. Del Rosario also said he saw no need for the president to mention the issue of disputed territories, as the decision of the UN Arbitral Tribunal would be final. Also, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda echoed Del Rosario’s sentiments. “Ngayon gumagalaw sa UNCLOS na ngayon, so there’s really nothing to discuss na, nasabi na rin ng Pangulo at ng Department of Foreign Affairs [lahat ng dapat sabihin,]” he said. The International Tribunal convened last week in the Netherlands to look at the complaint lodged by the Philippines. The Philippines and China have been locked in a territorial dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal Read More …

Jul 152013
Bilateral talks with China becoming impossible – DFA

By Matikas SantosINQUIRER.net 3:39 pm | Monday, July 15th, 2013 DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines – Accept that we own the entire South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) before we talk. That was gist of “the Chinese unequivocal message” on the territorial dispute with the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) despite several attempts at negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters Monday. “It has, therefore, become impossible to continue bilateral discussion on disputes in the WPS with China on the basis of this rigid position,” Hernandez said. “This led us to finally resort to arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS),” he said. The DFA’s statement was in response to another statement by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that said “the Philippine’s claim that it had exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful settlement of dispute is completely not true.” Hernandez said that their statement was baseless and he enumerated the many attempts of the Philippines to settle the dispute. “Since intrusions in the Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal) started in April 2012 alone, we have had nearly fifty consultations with China,” he said. The DFA had officially asked China to bring the issue “to a dispute settlement mechanism to resolve the issue on a long-term basis” through a note verbale dated April 26, 2012. Hernandez said that China replied that it Read More …

Jul 052013
Defense chief contradicts DFA, says Chinese ships already left Panatag

Contradicting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Friday said that Chinese ships have already left the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal. “As far as the last air patrol that we conducted, the (Chinese) ships are no longer at Panatag Shoal,” Gazmin said. “I guess this is really what they do during inclement weather.” This contradicted an earlier statement by Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez denying that Chinese warships have left the shoal, which is about 124 nautical miles off Zambales province. Gazmin said the military had its latest patrol early this week. Manila and Beijing have been in an impasse regarding the shoal since April 10 last year when Chinese ships blocked the arrest of fishermen who were caught poaching by Philippine authorities. Since then, China has virtually controlled the shoal, a rich fishing area for Zambales residents. Gazmin, however, refused to answer questions regarding Philippine efforts to ensure that the foreign ships will not return to the shoal. “I cannot discuss that with you,” Gazmin told reporters. Regarding Chinese Major General Luo Yan’s statement calling the  Philippines as trouble-maker, Gazmin said: “You know what really happened. If he thinks we are troublemakers, then that is the right of the Chinese to say so but everybody knows that we didn’t start the whole thing.” — KBK, GMA News