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Department of Foreign Affairs-06November2009-updates

U.S. Congress favors doubling the amount of U.S. Security Assistance to RP

Posted: 06 Nov 2009 12:30 AM PST

6 November 2009 – The United States Congress has pushed for higher U.S. military assistance to the Philippines compared to previous years’ levels.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo said that “both Houses of the U.S. Congress have recommended close to double the amount requested by the Obama administration for foreign military assistance.”

This request for the Philippines is the second largest amount of military assistance in the Asia Pacific region.

Secretary Romulo also confirmed Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro’s statement that Senator Daniel Inouye, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, committed to increase defense and security assistance for the Philippines.

Overall, the Obama administration has proposed US$667 million in assistance for the Philippines in Fiscal Year 2010 to include defense, security and economic assistance; poverty alleviation under the Millennium Challenge Account; and veterans’ benefits.

In its submission of its budget request for 2010, the Obama administration recently requested for the deletion of the conditions on US$2 million in security assistance in the 2009 appropriations act in recognition of significant progress made by the Philippines in addressing human rights concerns.

“The Philippine Government had been recognized by both the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress for its efforts in addressing human rights issues. We welcome U.S. engagement with our country because we share the same values of democracy, freedom and rule of law. The Philippine Government remains fully committed and determined to address issues in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights,” Secretary Romulo added. END

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RP Embassy in Brunei continues to Receive Assistance For Typhoon VictimsPosted: 06 Nov 2009 12:10 AM PST6 November 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam said it continued to receive assistance from donors and other supporters showing their concern for victims of the typhoons in the Philippines.

The International Women’s Club Brunei (IWCB) formally presented its donation to the Philippines Relief Effort to aid victims of Typhoon Ketsana at the Philippine Embassy on October 28.

IWCB President Ungku Datin Fanzah Ungku Osman and other members of the IWCB presented to Ambassador Alexander B. Yano multivitamins and medicine for children and various medical supplies worth B$3,000 (around P99,000). The medicine and medical supplies are included the priority list of the Department of Health.

Ungku Datin Fanzah said that the International Women’s Club has among its members ladies from the Philippines. “It is natural that we are very concerned when a catastrophe occurs in the country of any of its members. IWCB would like to show its solidarity and support for its ‘international family’,” she added.

The donated items were transported to Manila on October 30 and turned over to the concerned authorities by Attaché Monette F. Garcia.

Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) generously waived the excess baggage amounting to 60 kilos upon being informed by the Philippine Embassy that Attaché Garcia and her family would be bringing the relief items during her flight to the Philippines.

In addition, Ms. Nadzati Azma Azeez, team owner of the Brunei Barracudas Basketball Team and a passenger of the same RBA flight to Manila, included the remaining 34 kilos of remaining medical supplies from IWCB as part of her and her family’s check-in luggage.

On October 31, representatives from Happy Deals Sdn. Bhd. formally turned over their donation of 2,000 pieces of brand new children’s clothing. The donation was accepted by Ambassador Yano together with Labor Attaché Elizabeth O. Recio.

Josephine Carandang Padilla, a Filipino supervisor at Delifrance-Brunei International Airport, was one of the donor’s representatives present at the turnover. She narrated that her employer had been inspired to donate to the Philippine flood victims after learning of her family’s plight in Marikina and her initiative to collect donations in kind from her friends.

On November 3, Danny Quah Boon Leng, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank in Brunei Darussalam, personally handed over to Ambassador Yano a check amounting to B$1,580.82 representing individual donations from the bank’s employees.

Mr. Danny Quah Boon Leng had previously served in Manila as head of consumer banking operations of Standard Chartered Bank in the Philippines. “I have stayed in touch with my former staff in the Philippines, many of whom were affected by the flooding in Manila. To me, these victims are not just statistics; they are my friends and colleagues. We in Standard Chartered are glad to contribute our personal share to the relief efforts in the Philippines,” he said.

A similar initiative was recently undertaken by employees of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Brunei, as part of HSBC’s regional drive to collect donations from all HSBC staff in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Mr. Boon Teck Lim, Manager, Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Brunei, their bank participated in the donation drive and was able to raise the sum of B$1,370 from among the bank’s staff and friends. The donation was forwarded to the Philippine National Red Cross to aid in the disaster relief effort. END

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DFA to Facilitate Repatriation of OFW Found Dead In JeddahPosted: 05 Nov 2009 11:38 PM PST6 November 2009 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will facilitate the repatriation of overseas worker Joy Malab Cabansi who was found dead in Jeddah last September.

In coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Office (OWWA) and the Saudi employer, Ms. Cabansi’s remains will be sent back to Manila once the investigation on her death is concluded.

Ms. Cabansi (a.k.a. Joy Cabansi Sarto), 28 years old, was found dead in her employer’s house in Jeddah last September 21.

The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah is in constant communication with Major Rurki, chief investigator of the Amir Fawaz Police Station, on the investigation.

The initial police findings, based on the medical report, indicate that rope marks found on Ms. Cabansi’s neck, as well as the absence of defensive wounds and signs of struggle, point to the cause of death as a possible suicide.

The Consulate has requested local police authorities to conduct a full and exhaustive examination on her death..

The DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs is in contact with Mr. Richard Sarto, Ms. Cabansi’s husband, as well as other members of her family. END

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DFA Assisting in the Release of Two Filipinos onboard Hijacked Thai VesselPosted: 05 Nov 2009 04:31 PM PST6 November 2009–The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has instructed the Philippine Embassies in Singapore and Nairobi to assist in securing the safe and immediate release of the two Filipino crew of a Malaysian fishing vessel hijacked by Somali pirates.

Thai Union 3, with its crew of two Filipinos, two Ghanaians, and 23 Russians, was seized by pirates last October 29, 200 nautical miles north of Seychelles.

This brings the total number of Filipino seamen on board three hijacked vessels off Somalia to 22.

The DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA), which is in close coordination with the vessel’s local manning agency, said the latter has assured of the crew’s good condition.

OUMWA has instructed the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to closely coordinate with the vessel’s principal based in Singapore.

The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi was likewise directed to monitor negotiations between the principal and the Somali pirates. The Philippine Government has a no-ransom policy. END

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