DFA to cancel diplomatic passports of ex-secretaries, diplomats
The announcement comes after former top diplomat Albert del Rosario was about to attend a business meeting when he was denied entry to Hong Kong Friday.
DFA to cancel diplomatic passports of ex-secretaries, diplomats
(Philstar.com) - June 22, 2019 - 4:24pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 5:02 p.m.)  — The Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday it will revoke all courtesy diplomatic passports issued to previous foreign affairs chiefs and envoys, including that of former secretary Albert del Rosario who was recently barred from entering Hong Kong.

“The DFA Office of Consular Affairs will be issuing an order shortly, cancelling all courtesy diplomatic passports,” the DFA said in a statement.

The announcement comes after Del Rosario was denied entry to Hong Kong Friday.

Del Rosario said he flew to Hong Kong using a Philippine diplomatic passport to attend a business meeting but was taken to an immigration holding area on arrival, where he remained "for nearly three and a half hours".

According to DFA, Del Rosario received his diplomatic passport in December 2016 by virtue of Department Order No. 12-1993, and was “revalidated” last June 18 “as provided by Section 14 of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 and in accordance with existing regulations, for a business trip to Hong Kong.”

“Since the issuance of the 1993 Department Order, diplomatic passports have been issued to former DFA secretaries as well as ambassadors as a matter of courtesy, not to confer them with diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, but only to accord them the usual port courtesies at immigration points abroad,” the DFA said.

An outspoken critic of Chinese President Xi Jinping, many described Hong Kong’s move as retaliation for Del Rosario’s remarks against Beijing's maritime encroachment in the West Philippines Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte has largely set aside the Philippines' row with Beijing over the resource-rich waters in exchange for trade and investments. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral with a report from The STAR/Janvic Mateo

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