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Department of Foreign Affairs-13Oct2009-updates

Quezonian Foundation, Inc. and Pagbilawin Foundation, Inc. Donate to Typhoon Ondoy Victims

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 02:15 AM PDT

PH-180-09, 13 October 2009 – The officers of the Quezonian Foundation, Inc. (QFI), led by its chairman Mr. Efren Catalla, and Pagbilawin Foundation, Inc., (PFI), led by its president Mr. Manolito Batocabe, visited the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago on October 7 to donate two checks for victims of typhoon Ondoy.

The QFI and the Quezon Association of the Midwest (QAM) donated the amount of US$1,000 while PFI donated US$2,000 for a total donation of US$3,000. Both checks were made payable to the Philippine National Red Cross.

The groups joined forces to raise funds and expressed their concern for the plight of fellow Filipinos in the wake of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which hit the Philippines. The consulate thanked QFI/QAM and PFI for their generous donations and provided them with the latest information on the typhoons from the National Disaster Coordinating Council. END

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DFA Warns Public Anew on Variation of the Internet-Based 419 Scam

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 02:14 AM PDT

PR-854-09, 13 October 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reiterates its warning to the public on internet-based “419 Scam” following reports that individuals allegedly from Nigeria were able to hack the email of a Manila-based national and solicited money.

The latest incident is another variation of the scam which involves the hacking of the victim’s email account and using it to solicit money from unsuspecting friends and relatives. The victim’s relatives and friends received emails purportedly from the victim claiming he/she was robbed while in Nigeria, and asking them to remit US$2,500 in order for the victim to return to Manila.

There have been previous advisories on the 419 Scam whose money-making scheme is internet-based. The Nigeria-based syndicates’ modus operandi usually involves sending emails to unsuspecting victims promising employment in Nigeria, bank loans, lottery winnings or double-your-money schemes using Filipino names to victimize OFWs and other job applicants in the Philippines. The syndicate requires the recipient to remit money to a particular bank account in Nigeria, supposedly as payment for application fees, taxes, and other processing fees.

The Philippine Embassy in Abuja strongly believes that this latest case is a typical 419 Scam that usually finds its victims through the internet.

The public is advised not to send any money or divulge personal information, particularly bank accounts or credit card number if they receive similar emails. END

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SNAMMM-NOC Co-Sponsors with the Department of Education an Essay Writing Competition on Interfaith Dialogue

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 01:37 AM PDT

PR-853-09, 13 October 2009 – The National Organizing Committee (NOC) of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development (SNAMMM) and the Department of Education (DepEd) will conduct an essay writing contest on interfaith dialogue to heighten public awareness, especially among students, of the Philippines’ advocacy for peace and the promotion of an open dialogue among various faiths and religions.

The theme of the essay writing competition is “Interfaith Initiatives: What It Means to Me and to My Country.”

Interfaith initiatives have been a cornerstone of Philippine policy. This will mark the first time that the NAM will harness the great potentials of interfaith dialogue and cooperation to advance the cause for a durable and lasting peace and sustainable development not only in the Philippines and around the world.

The nationwide essay writing contest will be open to any high school students enrolled in any public and private secondary schools recognized by DepEd for the school year 2009-2010.

Winners will be awarded trophies, certificates and cash prizes. First prize will receive PhP20,000; second prize will receive PhP15,000; the third prize will receive PhP10,000; and seven consolation prizes of PhP2,000 each.

The winners shall be notified via mail/e-mail and shall be presented with an award during the course of the ministerial meeting on 1-3 December 2009.

Please call or email the DepEd Special Events Unit located at Room 505 Bonifacio Building, DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City at tel nos. (02) 637-5832 and (02) 637-5834, and email address osec_seu@yahoo.com for further information. END

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Filipinos in Lebanon send Donation to PNRC for Typhoon Victims

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 01:33 AM PDT

PR-852-09, 13 October 2009 – The Filipino community in Lebanon remitted to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) the sum of US$1,604 as donation to help the victims of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”

The amount was raised during the second collection at two Sunday masses on 4 and 11 October in the St. Elie Parish Church in Antelias, St. Joseph Parish Church in Tabaris, St. George Church in Sarba, St. Rita Church in Kfarhabab, St. Lourdes Church in Baabda and by the Filipino Association of Baclaran, Ajaltoun.

During the Sunday mass at the St. Elie Church, Rev. Fr. Theo Vlugt, SJ, (left photo, 3rd from left, top row) of the Afro-Asian Migrant Center led the prayers for the victims of the typhoons and encouraged the Filipino parishioners to give to the second collection. Dante and Beth Tagudin, FilCom leaders, (Beth Tagudin at right end of both photos) arranged the second collection, the gathering of the donations from the various churches and the remittance of US$1,604 to the Metro Bank account of the Philippine National Red Cross.

Iremit waived the remittance fee for the donation. The donation was witnessed by Mrs. Nila Robillos, OIC-POLO/OWWA, (right photo, 3rd from right) and Mrs. Priscilla Flores, Welfare Officer.

The Filipino parishioners in the St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Hamra, Beirut are also arranging second collection in the four Sunday masses in October and material donations for the victims of the two typhoons. The El Shaddai, Lebanon Chapter and the Filipino church servers are organizing the donations, which they will remit to their chosen charitable organizations. Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Gilberto Asuque thanked the Filipino parishioners of the St. Francis of Assisi Church during the mass on October 11 for their donations. (POLO/OWWA photos) END

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Congressman Rufus Rodriguez visits Cuba to Boost RP-Cuban ties

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 01:23 AM PDT

PR-851-09, 13 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Havana reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City successfully completed a five-day visit to Cuba recently, which Philippine Ambassador to Cuba MacArthur F. Corsino described as having greatly helped the Embassy boost RP-Cuban ties.

A member of the RP-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Group of the Philippine Congress, Rodriguez met with Deputies (parliament members) of the Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power: Yenielys Reguieferos of the Commission (committee) on Foreign Relations; Doralis C. Hernandez, Education, Culture, Science and Technology; and Dr. Rebeca Sonia Gonzalez Fernandez, Health and Sports. He also met with Omar Torres Olivares, a functionary of the National Assembly.

Rodriguez has sponsored a Filipino scholar from his constituency, Junre Salvan, who begins his studies in Cuba this year, in hydraulic engineering. He also expressed interest in sending two scholars next year, in medicine and hydraulic engineering.

Accompanied by Ambassador Corsino, Rodriguez toured some important symbols of Cuban nationalism: the monument and museum to the Cuban national hero Jose Marti; the Museum of the Cuban Revolution which features relics of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary struggle against the Fulgencio Batista regime during 1956-59; the monument and tomb of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Santa Clara where “Che” commanded the Cuban columns that won the final, decisive battle that forced Batista to flee the country; the beach and museum of Playa Giron, or the Bay of Pigs in Matanzas, where the Cuban armed forces defeated an invasion attempt of CIA-trained counter-revolutionaries in 1961; and the Fort Cabana office and residence where Che Guevara worked and lived in for six months after the expulsion of Batista.

Rodriguez and the Ambassador were welcomed by top Cuban officials administering these sites including Ernesto Calero, president of the Varadero municipal government, and Mrs. Diosenis Machado, president of the government and Deputy of the National Assembly, from Cienaga de Zapata (region of Playa Giron).

Congressman Rodriguez, with the Embassy staff, also laid a wreath at the monument to Dr. Jose Rizal, at the Plaza de Fraternidad in Havana. He and his wife Fenina O. T. Rodriguez were accompanied by the ambassador and Mrs. Bernadette Corsino in most of the places they visited, including in Santa Clara and Matanzas and places which the late Nobel-prize-winning American novelist Ernest Hemingway stayed in or frequented in Havana. END

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Awarding of Plaques of Appreciation for the Success of the Asia Pacific Women’s Group Moscow Charity Bazaar 2009

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 01:10 AM PDT

PH-179-09, 13 October 2009 – The Asia Pacific Women’s Group headed by Madame Concepcion Garcia, spouse of Philippine Ambassador to Russia Victor G. Garcia III, awarded plaques of appreciation to the sponsors and patrons who contributed to the success of the Asia Pacific Charity Bazaar 2009. The awarding was followed by a reception held last October 9 at the Embassy of Singapore. END

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Swiss People Take Direct Action to Assist Typhoon Victims, Other Disasters in the Region

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 06:52 PM PDT

PR-850-09, 13 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Berne reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Swiss people directly donated Swiss Francs 5,054,451 during the ”Donation Day” of the Swiss Solidarity Foundation held on October 9 for the typhoon victims in the Philippines, earthquake victims in Indonesia, and flood victims in India.

In fact, 1.2 million Swiss Francs were received in advance of the collection day. Donations have reached Swiss Francs 6,254,451 and may still go higher.

The Swiss Solidarity Foundation is the humanitarian arm of Swiss Radio and Television and the private print media. It works with 30 partner organizations to provide emergency relief in disaster areas. Some of their partner organizations are Caritas, Medicins Sans Frontieres, Swiss Red Cross, Handicap International among others.

The Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC) based in Zurich coordinated directly with the Swiss Solidarity Foundation to assist the Philippines. SACC is composed of entities doing business in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.

The Swiss Solidarity Foundation acknowledged that the biggest contribution during its Donation Day came from the SACC Taskforce Asia amounting to Swiss Francs 100,000.

The SACC Taskforce Asia (www.taskforceasia.ch) was established by Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Ma. Theresa Lazaro and Martin Kurer, SACC’s Philippine Chapter Chairman, in close cooperation with the Indonesian Ambassador in Switzerland and in coordination with the Philippine Swiss Business Council based in Manila, represented by Mr. Reiner Gloor.

The objective of the Taskforce is to raise funds for the victims of the typhoons in the Philippines and earthquakes in Indonesia.

The Philippine Embassy also conveyed the gratitude of Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council Chairman Gilbert Teodoro to the Swiss people. Secretary Teodoro said, “The typhoons Ketsana and Parma have created a natural disaster of unprecedented extent. The Philippine Government is doing its best to support our people with food, clean water, medicines and other items needed for survival. Reconstruction will be equally challenging. I have been informed about the efforts of the Swiss people and the Swiss Government’s assistance and I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude. I wish to specifically mention the efforts of Swiss Solidarity, Glueckskette and Radio DRS. Thank you.” END

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Filipinos in New South Wales Raise Donations, Relief Goods for Flood Victims

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 06:34 PM PDT

PR-849-09, 13 October 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in Sydney reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Filipinos in New South Wales, Australia rallied to help the families affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, sending food and funds for the relief of distressed communities.

Families gave grocery products and clothes while senior citizens donated their pensions. Young professionals and university students approached groceries for donations of canned goods and pharmacies for medicines. Many Filipino-Australian organizations undertook fund appeals, to assist the civic relief groups sheltering and assisting flood victims.

A Filipino language radio program made a two-day radiothon and raised A$11,000 (P462,000) in pledges. In a demonstration of unity, organizations shed their names and made their donations in the name of the Filipino Community of New South Wales.

A Filipino-Australian businesswoman in Granville volunteered her business location as a drop-off point for goods, and almost immediately, families from all over the Greater Sydney area came with loads of relief goods.

By October 6, three metric tonnes (3,000 kilos) of collected food donations were sent by air to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Gawad Kalinga, and other civic organizations providing front-line relief services in the calamity areas. A second shipment of relief goods, which is targeting six tonnes (6,000 kilos) of assorted relief goods, is being assembled for immediate shipment.

Filipino-Australians in Blacktown City, where there are 21,000 Filipino immigrants, are organizing a concert to raise more funds for the flood victims. Majority of Filipino-Australians in New South Wales are spread throughout the state and coursed their donations directly to Philippine relief agencies, the PNRC, and church and civic organizations in calamity areas.

To help the Filipino community’s relief donation drives, remittance centers waived service charges and certain cargo forwarder companies accommodated the shipment of relief goods.

“The Filipino-Australians in New South Wales usually mobilize relief assistance whenever a calamity hits the Philippines, but Typhoon Ondoy’s flooding of the country’s capital caused the suffering of an unprecedented number of calamity victims, which made the need for relief assistance more urgent,” Acting Head of Post J. Anthony Reyes of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney said.

With the new round of floods and landslides brought by Typhoon Pepeng to northern Luzon, the Filipino Community in New South Wales is extending their relief assistance drive.. END

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RP Embassy in London and Filcom Ship Donations to Help “Ondoy” Victims

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 06:08 PM PDT

PR-848-09, 13 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in London and members of the Filipino-UK Community have begun shipping collected donations to the Philippines for those affected by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (Ketsana).

The Embassy has been serving as a collection point for relief goods donated from within the UK since the storm hit the Philippines. Other individuals and organizations also volunteered their offices and residences as donation drop-off areas.

A total of 24 large boxes packed with donated items were collected from the Embassy’s premises on October 8. Even as these boxes were being loaded, more relief goods arrived from the Holiday Inn Hotel in London, which were received by Embassy officials led by Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo.

Subsequent collections from the Embassy are scheduled for the 15th and 20th of October. All goods will be placed in a container van donated by Wentworth International Movers for shipment to the Department of Social Works and Development (DSWD) in Manila.

From the first briefing on “Ondoy” for the Filipino community last September 28, the Embassy has been utilizing the tremendous support of concerned groups and individuals who have generously contributed their time and resources towards helping those most in need.

Banking and financial companies such as Allied Bank, I-Remit, PNB, Metro Remit, LCC Trans-Sending and CBN Grupo informed the Embassy that they were waiving remittance charges for donations to several relief agencies. Many students came forward to volunteer their services and help in collecting and packing donated items. Philippine media organizations in the UK disseminated information on relief efforts. Filipino communities and organizations all around the UK raised funds and collected needed supplies.

On October 1, individuals and groups met at the Philippine Consulate to further coordinate their volunteer work and identify more ways to help. A special mass was held on October 7, while several benefit events were planned, including a charity drive on October 11 organized by Aguman Kapangpangan-UK, Batangas Association UK, and the Philippine Association of Royal Mail Employees.

Plans for a benefit concert featuring artists like Mutya Buena (formerly of Sugababes) and other artists with links to the Philippines are underway.

The Embassy has been regularly issuing advisories through e-mails and its website (www..philembassy-uk.org) to help centralize information on ways to help those affected by the tropical storm. It continues to encourage those who wish to contribute to the relief efforts to send their donations directly to the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Philippine National Red Cross, and the DSWD. END

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First Batch of Philippine Peacekeepers Arrive in Golan Heights

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 05:54 PM PDT

PR-847-09, 13 October 2009 – Filipino troops hit the ground running as they assumed their peacekeeping duties with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights immediately upon their arrival in Syria on Sunday, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York said today.

In its report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Mission said 161 troops comprising the first batch of the 1st Philippine Peacekeeping Contingent to the Golan Heights under Army Lt. Col. Milfredo Melegrito arrived in Damascus on Sunday afternoon and immediately assumed their positions.

The Philippine Mission said the peacekeepers—made up of 28 officers and 133 enlisted men—left the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Pampanga on board a United Nations-chartered aircraft past midnight Sunday. A second batch of 161 officers and enlisted personnel will complete the deployment when they arrive in Syria on November 1.

The Philippine Mission was informed that upon their arrival, the Filipino peacekeepers established their headquarters at Camp Ziouani and took over positions that have been turned over by their Polish counterparts. They were joined by the 14-man advance party that was deployed to the area two weeks ago to prepare for their arrival.

The Filipino troops are expected to immediately start patrolling and monitoring the southern portion of the so-called Area of Separation—a hilly 80-kilometer stretch in the Golan Heights that has been under UN supervision since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

The Philippine Contingent will form part of the 1,023-strong UNDOF peacekeeping force that also includes troops from Austria, Canada, Croatia, India and Japan who have been tasked by the Security Council to maintain the ceasefire and supervise the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces and the so-called Areas of Separation and Limitation between the two parties.

According to the Philippine Mission, Manila committed to send a total of 336 peacekeepers after it was requested by the United Nations to support UNDOF following the decision of Poland to end its peacekeeping presence in the Golan Heights where it has been serving since 1994.

Poland is expected to formally turnover command to the Philippines in ceremonies scheduled at Camp Ziouani on 22 October. It will retain a presence in the area until after the Philippines completes its deployment next month.

The Philippine presence in the Golan Heights is Manila’s biggest overseas deployment since it supported UN operations in East Timor in 2000 and is also considered the most challenging of all the UN peacekeeping missions the Philippines is participating in.

This deployment is expected to boost Philippine contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. In addition to the battalion-size unit it deployed to the Golan Heights, the Philippines also has contributed company-size units in Haiti and Liberia as well as military observers and staff officers in Cote d’ Ivoire, Kashmir, Sudan and Timor-Leste. END

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