Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RP Envoy Pays Farewell Calls, Obtains Release Of Nine Filipino Prisoners In Maldives And Sri Lanka

The Philippine Embassy in Dhaka reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that Ambassador Zenaida Tacorda-Rabago paid farewell calls to high officials of the Maldivian and Sri Lankan Governments from May 22 to 25.
Ambassador Tacorda-Rabago is also non-resident Ambassador to Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador stated that President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives have ordered the release of the seven overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) incarcerated in Maafushi Prison.

This was as a gesture of goodwill and as a farewell gift to the Ambassador, who is retiring from the foreign service.

The seven OFWs, who were working in the hospitality industry in Maldives, pleaded guilty to credit card theft and fraud and sentenced to 25 years in prison last February 2009.

The DFA and the Embassy have been seeking avenues for their release/deportation through the recently approved "Clemency Law," which empowers the President to grant pardons to prisoners.

Ambassador Tacorda-Rabago reiterated the country's request for support for its bid for Observer Status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to President Nasheed. The Maldivian President gladly obliged, and informed her that he will personally write the OIC Secretary-General of his country's strong support.

In turn, President Nasheed requested the Ambassador for support for an Asian Summit on climate change. He also intimated to the Ambassador the hiring of Filipino professionals from the medical, entertainment, and educational fields.

During her farewell call to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ambassador Tacorda Rabago appealed for the deportation of two Filipinos held in prison for alleged violation of Sri Lankan immigration laws, stressing that protection of Filipino nationals as one of the pillars of the country's foreign policy.

President Rajapaksa ordered his officials to work on the release and deportation of the two Filipinos, who were remorseful on their alleged participation as front for illegal recruiters in Sri Lanka.

The two have already served seven months in jail while awaiting formal charges from the Sri Lankan Government.

The Sri Lankan Government also reiterated its request for the Philippine Government to re-open its Embassy in Colombo and commended the Philippines as role model in protecting and safeguarding the rights of Filipino migrant workers. END

Source: http://dfa.gov.ph

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