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Archive for Philippines

Newsline: US Embassy working with Philippine authorities in probing slay of transgender

The US Embassy in Manila is working closely with Philippine authorities in identifying the suspect in the killing of a transgender woman in Olongapo City over the weekend amid allegations the foreign companion the victim was last seen with may be a US national. In a statement aired on Monday, the US Embassy sent its condolences to the family and friends of the victim, who was found dead inside the Celzone Lodge in Barangay East Tapinac Saturday night. “We are aware of the situation and express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. We are also aware that there are allegations that a foreigner, including possibly a US national, was involved in the incident. We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with the PNP (Philippine National Police) to take all necessary steps to help identify the suspects,” it said. A team from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) joined the police Sunday in inspecting the crime scene and was also present during the victim’s autopsy. NCIS is a US federal law enforcement agency tasked with investigating actual or suspected major criminal offenses involving the Navy and Marine Corps. Meanwhile, a Marine Corps Times report posted Sunday night said a US Marine has been placed in custody on board the amphibious assault ship Peleliu in connection with the incident.



Newsline: South Korean Embassy in Manila alarmed by rising number of Korean fatal victims of crime in Philippines

The Korean Embassy in Manila has expressed alarm over the rising number of deaths of its nationals who had become victims of crimes here and said that if this trend continued, Korean would be discouraged from coming to the Philippines. In a statement, the Korean embassy said that so far, nine Koreans have died in violent crimes since January. The latest case involved a Korean businessman who was killed last July 27 in a car-jacking, the embassy said. The man’s wife was also abducted but was later released unharmed and police have arrested the family driver “for possible involvement in the crime,” it said. The embassy also mentioned the abduction and murder last March of 21-year-old student named Lee Ji Won, noting that one of the suspects in his murder included a taxi driver. It also said the “brutal and senseless crime (against Lee) rattled the Korean community in the Philippines.” “The rising incidence of crimes committed against Koreans while in the Philippines either on vacation or on business is a trend that has alarmed the Embassy of the Republic of Korea,” the embassy said.


Newsline: Canadian embassy in Philippines reports telephone system down

Filipinos transacting with the Canadian Embassy in Manila may have to use alternative means of communication as the embassy’s telephone system is temporarily down. In a post on its Twitter account on Thursday, the embassy said it is experiencing “technical difficulties” with its phone system and is unable to receive calls. The embassy advised the public to contact it in the meantime via email at MANILGeneral@international.gc.ca. On the other hand, Canadian citizens needing consular assistance may call +1 613 996 8885 long distance (collect calls accepted) or 1 800 1 110 0226 toll free from a landline. They may also send an e-mail to sos@international.gc.ca


Newsline: Philippine Embassy says militants beheaded construction worker in Libya, starts mass evacuation

A Filipino construction worker in Libya was beheaded by militants in Benghazi, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. He is the first Filipino casualty in Libya since the civil strife in the North African state erupted anew and since the first civil war that toppled the regime of Libyan strongman Moammar Ghadafi in 2011, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told a press briefing. Citing the report of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli and Filipino community members, Jose said the Filipino, whose identity he refused to disclose, was kidnapped by armed men on July 15 and was subsequently beheaded in Benghazi. His remains were found at a hospital on July 20. Libya is currently in a state of civil war. The Philippine government is currently enforcing the mass evacuation of around 13,000 Filipinos there. The Philippine government has identified Egypt or Tunisia as exit routes for the Filipinos. As of Monday, 207 Filipinos have registered for evacuation and will be flown to Manila as soon as the Philippine embassy there has completed their travel requirements, Jose said.


Newsline: China’s UN envoy rebuts Vietnamese, Philippine accusations over South China Sea

A Chinese envoy forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes. At the meeting of state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) held here, Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, slammed Vietname and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territory. He reiterated that Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, and are under effective jurisdiction of the Chinese government. “There’s no dispute about them,” he said, pointing to the fact that all the successive Vietnamese governments prior to 1974 had formally acknowledged Xisha islands as part of China’s territory since ancient times. “Now the Vietnamese government is going back on its word and making territorial claims over China’s Xisha Islands,” Wang said, noting that Vietnam is reneging on its own promises, saying one thing today and denying it tomorrow. With regard to all the false accusations made by the Philippines against China, Wang pointed out the root cause of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea is the Philippines’ illegal occupation of some islands and reefs belonging to China’s Nansha islands. The ambassador noted that pursuant to the provisions of UNCLOS, the Chinese government made a declaration in 2006, excluding disputes over maritime delimitation and territorial sovereignty from compulsory dispute settlement procedures.


Newsline: US Ambassador to Manila snubs Filipino officials

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has inspected American troops stationed in the town of Jolo in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, but his visit was criticized after the former ambassador to Bolivia did not even bother to meet as a courtesy protocol with local Filipino government officials. Goldberg visited Jolo together with embassy officials on June 2 and went straight to the Philippine Marine Brigade headquarters where US troops put up a small camp under the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P). Local government officials, who learned about Goldberg’s prior visit in Jolo, had even prepared and ready to brief the former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research in case he wanted to discuss peace and development efforts in the province. But no one from Goldberg’s group and not even the US Embassy informed the Filipino officials that the ambassador is not meeting, even briefly, with them for a still unknown reason. Some government officials said they felt insulted with Goldberg’s action and likened the American ambassador to a cat. “You know, cats just go inside your house and leave whenever they want. Animals do not have courtesy,” one Filipino official said. In the past, US Ambassadors Kristie Kenny and Harry Thomas, and other foreign dignitaries would always meet and pay their courtesy with local municipal and provincial officials every time they visit Sulu. Goldberg was declared persona non grata by Bolivia in 2008 for plotting against Bolivia’s government.


Newsline: Philippine foreign ministry apologizes to Saudi embassy over arrest of diplomat’s wife

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has apologized to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the arrest of the wife of one of its attachés for alleged illegal recruiting. The DFA issued the apology after the diplomat’s status was verified with the embassy. “We issued a diplomatic note addressed to the Embassy expressing regret for the incident,” said DFA spokesperson Charles Jose at a press briefing. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats and their families cannot be arrested in the country where they are assigned. However, Jose noted that the diplomatic immunity clause in the convention was put to help diplomats carry out their official work and “cannot be used as a cover to do illegal activities.” The diplomat and his wife have already been released, but the Saudi Arabia embassy still protested the arrest. “The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia… hopes that within this action necessary legal procedures would be undertaken against the perpetrators of this incident and to prevent its occurrence in the future,” it said in a statement. The National Bureau of Investigation could bring the issue to the DFA it has sufficient evidence against the diplomat’s wife. The DFA then may file a complaint with the Saudi Arabia embassy and request that the immunity on the diplomat be removed. Among those seized from the couple’s home were passports and biodata of applicants who wished to go to the Middle East to work as domestic helpers.