Monday, August 13, 2018

Ex-DFA acting chief Manalo named ambassador to Germany


President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) acting secretary Enrique Manalo as ambassador to Germany, a document released by MalacaƱang on Friday showed.
Duterte signed the appointment paper of Manalo on August 7. The President also named Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim ambassador to Denmark.
Manalo, a son of two former ambassadors, is the acting chief of the DFA from March to May 2017 after the powerful Commission on Appointments rejected the appointment of Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. due to citizenship issues.
Duterte’s running-mate in the 2016 elections, former Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, succeeded Manalo in May 2017.
Manalo returned to his old post as DFA undersecretary for policy.
A seasoned diplomat, Manalo also served as ambassador to Belgium and the United Kingdom as well as head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union, which had issued statements critical of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Apart from Manalo and Lim, the President also made appointments to several agencies including the Department of Finance, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, and the National Youth Commission. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News

Pinoys in Egypt told to be vigilant amid suicide bombing attempt


Filipinos in Egypt should "exercise caution" after authorities there foiled a recent suicide bombing attack, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in an advisory.
The DFA noted that the suicide bombing attempt occurred near the site of a petrochemical plant where almost 1,000 Filipinos are working as construction workers.
"We have just been informed by the Philippine Embassy in Cairo that all the Filipinos working in the plant are safe and that the only casualty in the incident that took place past noon on Saturday was the alleged suicide bomber," the DFA said.
According to Ambassador to Cairo Leslie Baja, the target of the attack appeared to be a Coptic church in Shoubra in Qalyubia Governorate, about 100 kilometers from the Egyptian capital, where the country’s largest petrochemical plant is being constructed.
Baja said the embassy remains in touch with the Filipino workers who reported that the plant was placed on lockdown immediately after the suicide bomber prematurely detonated himself some 250 meters from the church.
Baja said operations at the Korean-run construction site have returned to normal but additional security measures have been put in place. —KBK, GMA News

OFW dies in Saudi Arabia while waiting for unpaid wages, benefits from employer


A stranded Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia recently died without receiving the salary and benefits owed to him by his employer.
Lennylene Rancap Ongkiatco, the OFW's daughter, said her father, Larry Rancap, died in a hospital due to lung cancer without receiving assistance from the company despite his decades-long service to them.
"Yung buhay po niya mas nagsilbi po siya sa kumpanyang iyon na ganon katagal, marami pong pangyayari sa buhay namin na wala ho ang tatay ko tulad ng birthday, graduation. Lahat ho iyon tiniis ng tatay ko," Lennylene told GMA News.
Larry worked as an auto diesel mechanic for 25 years at a trading and contracting company in Saudi Arabia. His daughter said the company owed him two years of unpaid salaries as well as end-of-contract benefits.
"Sabi po ng kumpanya wala daw po silang pera, kaya sobrang sakit po sa aming pamilya na pinabayaan po ang tatay ko," Lennylene said. "Talagang hindi po siya inasikaso. Pinabayaan siyang mamatay."
She said even her father's workmates have appealed to the company to help him.
Lennylene said her father was just one of the 42 OFWs stranded in the Kingdom for a year who have yet to receive their salaries.
Representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have already contacted Larry's family in Batangas to inform them of the benefits and assistance they will receive from the Philippine government.
There are already efforts to repatriate his body, according to Lennylene. —Ronaldo Concha/KBK, GMA News

Scalded OFW in Dammam discharged from hospital, to be sent home soon


Gealyn Gavanes, the OFW in Saudi Arabia allegedly scalded by her employer, has already been discharged from the hospital and will be sent home as soon as she is declared fit to travel, a Foreign Affairs official said Thursday.
According to Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato, Gealyn is now under the care and protection of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
"Gealyn has been released from the hospital in Dammam where she was treated for her injuries," Cato said. "Embassy officials have visited her there during her confinement."
Cato said according to Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto, Gealyn was assisted as soon as her case was brought to the attention of the Philippine Embassy.
"The Embassy has also met with representatives of her Saudi recruiting agency to demand that they settle her unpaid salaries, secure her exit visa and shoulder the cost of her repatriation," Cato added. —KBK, GMA News

OFW, who died in Dubai, moved from one employer to another due to alleged abuse


The overseas Filipino worker who died of still unknown circumstances in Dubai went from one employer to another since going to the United Arab Emirates in 2013.
According to Saleema Refran's report on "24 Oras", Angel Trasadas' frequent changes of employer were due to alleged abuse.
"Sa pagkakaalam ko, nag-bleeding siya. 'Yan lamang alam ko," said Trasadas' aunt.
The late OFW's grandmother also asked for help so that her remains could be brought home.
"Ang katawan po ng nasawi ay nasa kustodiya po ng Dubai police," Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes said.
"At habang iniimbestigahan ng CID, inaantay po natin ang final word ng Dubai public prosecution para mai-release na 'yung katawan," he added. —Margaret Claire Layug/NB/BM, GMA News

Foreign Affairs Department confirms death of Dubai OFW


The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday confirmed the death of a Filipino,  Angel Trasadas, in Dubai.
The DFA also revealed that the Philippine Consulate in Dubai had received a request for assistance from Trasadas' family in the Philippines.
"As Angel’s death is still under investigation, authorities in Dubai would not be able to release her remains yet," DFA spokesperson Elmer Cato told GMA News.
"However, the Consulate General is in close coordination with authorities to ensure that Angel can be brought home and reunited with her loved ones as soon as authorities conclude their investigation," he added. — DVM/KBK, GMA News

Cimatu to lead high-level team to Libya following abduction of Filipino workers

Published August 7, 2018 10:07pm 

 MICHAELA DEL CALLAR

The Philippine government has tapped retired general and now Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to lead a high-level team to Libya following the abduction of three Filipino workers in the North African state, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.
Cayetano said Cimatu, who was former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s special envoy to the Middle East, was chosen to head the team because of his “wide experience” in ensuring the safety and welfare of Filipino workers in conflict-torn states in the region, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 72-year-old former Armed Forces Chief, Cayetano added, also has connections and friends in the Gulf states.
Cayetano said he can not say for now if Cimatu will be flying immediately to Libya and who will be accompanying him if the trip pushes through.
He also declined to give further details on the case as “high-level negotiations are underway.”
Other members of team include Filipino diplomats, representatives from the Labor Department and Philippine security forces, Cayetano said.
“The team is working on their own timeline, if this happens we do this, if this happens we do that, but it has to be in very close coordination with the Libyan government because they are the ones on the ground,” he said.
A South Korean, along with three Filipino engineers, were kidnapped by armed men off a water project site in western Libya on July 6.
A video confirming their abduction was shared on social media last week. The four addressed the camera in English while an armed guard was seen behind them.
“So far, Libya has made this their priority,” said Cayetano. “We hope they are safely returned the soonest possible time.”
Since the ouster of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was subsequently killed, Libya has been plagued by civil unrest and armed hostilities.
In 2015, a Filipino worker was beheaded by militants and a Filipina nurse was gang-raped, while another was injured in an attack on an upscale hotel in capital Tripoli, highlighting the risks being faced by some 4,000 remaining Philippine workers there.
Despite repeated appeals from the Philippine government to leave, many of them chose to stay despite the widespread violence, citing lack of jobs back home.
“This opened the eyes of everyone that there are a lot of dangers in the world, that danger comes in different forms so the Philippines, with 10 million (workers) abroad are vulnerable. The government has to do more, whether to find more jobs at home or whether finding markets where Filipinos will be safer,” Cayetano said. —JST, GMA News