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Department of Foreign Affairs-17October2009-updates

DFA Warns Filipino Nationals Against Drug Smuggling to Iran

Posted: 16 Oct 2009 10:57 PM PDT

17 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in the Islamic Republic reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that two Filipinos were apprehended by Iranian Authorities for attempting to smuggle illegal drugs to the Middle Eastern country.

The latest cases involved non-Iran based Filipino nationals who were duped by unscrupulous individuals, who may be connected to a network of international drug smugglers, into travelling to Iran purportedly to secure employment.

The unsuspecting victims were lured by offers of lucrative salaries in exchange for the seemingly easy task of transporting a package with their baggage. The packages, upon discovery by the Iranian customs authorities, contained illegal drugs.

In this regard, the DFA wishes to reiterate its warning to all Filipinos intending to travel to Iran to refrain from engaging in drug smuggling activities and to NOT ATTEMPT TO BRING ILLEGAL DRUGS INTO IRAN. UNDER SHARIA LAW, DRUG SMUGGLING IS PUNISHABLE BY LIFE IMPRISONMENT OR DEATH BY HANGING.

The public is also advised to be vigilant when offered similar job offers in Iran and to first check the veracity of the job being offered with the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment or the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. END

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RP pushes Nuclear Disarmament, Nonproliferation Agenda

Posted: 16 Oct 2009 06:38 PM PDT

PR-867-09, 17 October 2009— Although the elimination of nuclear weapons will not happen overnight, the Philippines said it is convinced that the objective is within reach given recent positive developments in the field of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, Manila’s envoy to the United Nations said.

In his statement before the First Committee of the General Assembly, Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, hailed the positive signals and developments on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, particularly the recent Security Council Summit chaired by United States President Barack Obama as well as statements of world leaders that have given prominence and importance to this issue.

“The Philippines welcomes such statements and pronouncements calling for a world free of nuclear weapons but it would welcome even more concrete action and definitive plans on how to achieve the objective of global disarmament,” Ambassador Davide said as he commended the Russian Federation and the United States for agreeing to have a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Saying the present global political climate presents countries with the best opportunity to make progress towards disarmament and nonproliferation, the former Philippine Chief Justice, who is also Vice Chairman of the First Committee, said the international community must act in concert with all the political will it can muster to rid the world of nuclear weapons once and for all and save the planet and humanity.

“The Philippines calls on all other possessors of nuclear arms to take urgent steps to reduce and eventually eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The challenge is to develop a mechanism that will bring all possessors of nuclear arms into a multilateral undertaking that leads them to global nuclear disarmament,” the Filipino envoy said.

In his statement, Ambassador Davide said the Philippines supports the calls for irreversible and complete elimination of nuclear weapons under international supervision and is prepared to examine proposals for a phased process leading to the ultimate objective of achieving total nuclear disarmament and to secure the agreements under a nuclear convention.

“The Philippines subscribes to the view that there can be no peace without trust,” Ambassador Davide said, adding that the international community can only expect the possessors of nuclear arms to participate fully in a multilateral undertaking towards global nuclear disarmament should there be a climate of confidence and trust prevailing among them.

Ambassador Davide said that in order to foster a climate of confidence and trust, there should be a common understanding where all possessors of nuclear arms are coming from in terms of their respective stockpile of nuclear arsenals and delivery systems; the presence of a reliable and accurate reporting of action on global nuclear disarmament to an accepted international body or entity; and a mechanism enabling all to verify fully actions taken in pursuit of global nuclear disarmament.

“The Philippines submits that the elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against—or the only way to save humanity from—the use or threat of use of such weapons,” Ambassador Davide said. END

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Lea Salonga events in Washington DC raise more than $19,000 in fresh contributions to funds for Typhoon Victims; total contributions so far reach more than $100,000

Posted: 16 Oct 2009 06:32 PM PDT

PR-866-09, 17 October 2009– Drawing on the beauty of her voice and the power of music, Tony award-honored Lea Salonga helped raise more than $19,000 in additional contributions for typhoon relief funds in twin events here.

Ms. Salonga made a special appearance at a “Solidarity Mass” at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and had a reception for donors at the Philippine Ambassador’s Residence.

At St. Matthew’s, Salonga sang “The Lord’s Prayer” in Filipino and made a special appeal to the attendees saying, “Much has been done… but there is so much more that still needs to be done.”

At the donors’ reception, Ms. Salonga made a similar appeal and urged everyone present to do his or her part for the typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa thanked Ms. Salonga for her commitment to help raise awareness and funds for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

“Her extraordinary voice is matched by her extraordinary heart,” said Ambassador Gaa.

“We thank Lea for what she has done and what she will continue to do for her country,” added Ambassador Gaa at the donor’s reception.

At the reception, a cheque for $10,000 was turned over by Covington and Burling representative Martin Gold to Ambassador Willy C. Gaa.

A cheque for $1,000 was likewise turned over by the George Washington University Hospital Women’s Board.

The events brought to more than $100,000 or 46 million pesos the amount raised for typhoon victims by the Filipino Community under the consular jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.

More than half of the amount has been turned over to Philippine relief agencies and NGOs of choice by the donors and Filipino-American associations.

The World Bank Group-IMF Fil-Am Staff Association announced during the reception that the Association’s members had raised $40,000. The amount will be matched by IMF-WB under its Community Connections program.

The Filipino American Community of Central Virginia also announced it will match up to $10,000 donations made for typhoon victims under its continuing program. FAACV had earlier donated $5,000 to the Philippine National Red Cross.
Organizations such as the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. – the umbrella organization of Filipino associations in the Greater Metro DC area – had, last week, donated $5,000.

Feed the Hungry had released $8,000 in the immediate aftermath of typhoon Ondoy for rescue and relief operations of its partner organizations in the Philippines.

The Philippine Nurses Association of America donated more than $4,000 to its partners in the Philippines.

The Ateneo Alumni Association of Metro Washington DC and the De La Salle Alumni Association each raised $3,000.

The UP Alumni Association in Maryland, DC and Virginia had already raised $2,000 in its continuing drive.

Maryland Coalition Help Philippines and Katipunan Maryland raised $4,000 in the Metro Baltimore area and had conveyed the donation to various NGOs and partners in the Philippines.

Mission of Mercy Fil-Am Community of Hampton Road in Virginia raised $3,000 and the Travelers’ Association donated $2,000 to the relief agency of its choice..

The Filipino community in Georgia meantime transmitted – through Philippine Honorary Consulate General Atlanta – $3,485 in funds for the Philippine National Red Cross.

The ASEAN Ladies Circle too donated $1,500 to relief efforts in the Philippines.

The Philippine Embassy continues to coordinate with Filipino organizations within its consular jurisdiction and assists queries on how to best assist the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines.

In thanking the Filipino community and friends of the Philippines, Ambassador Gaa noted that the “tremendous outpouring of support and expressions of solidarity serve to further strengthen our resolve as we move towards rehabilitation and reconstruction.”

“The Filipino spirit remains strong and unbowed; together with our kababayan and friends here and around the world, the challenges we now face will be overcome,” said Ambassador Gaa. END

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