Filipino diplomats must follow the “explicit directive” of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure that all government agencies are able to provide quick and efficient services to their countrymen in their host countries.
This was the advice of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to 30 Philippine ambassadors and consuls-general from the Asia-Pacific who attended a command conference at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, organised by the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) from April 5 to April 6. He assured the diplomats deployed to the Asia-Pacific region of “all support and resources” to deal with the needs of Filipinos in their respective jurisdictions.
“The president expects us to look after the needs of our people and we will do just that,” Cayetano said to the ambassadors and consuls-general.
“We would like to assure our embassies and consulates abroad that they shall have all the support and resources they need to allow them to serve our people quicker and better,” he added.
Cayetano raised the need for Philippine foreign service posts to continue improving the delivery of consular services and extending assistance to Filipinos in distress abroad.
Asia-Pacific countries include the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Laos, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Chile, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nieu, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, the United States and Vanuatu.
“With the holding of this command conference, all our heads of posts now know the direction we’re headed on how we would want our embassies and consulates to more effectively serve our kababayan (countrymen) abroad,” Sarah Lou Arriola, foreign affairs undersecretary for migrant workers concerns, said.
The conference also tackled a number of other issues, including migration, security, extremism and terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region.
Arriola said the envoys were also briefed on passport and consular-related issues, implementation of new rules on the Assistance to Nationals and Legal Assistance Funds for Overseas Filipinos and maximisation of the use of social media in advancing Philippine interests in the region.
The conference is the latest of several regional consultations organised by the OMWA to update Filipino diplomats on efforts to protect the rights and promote the welfare of Filipinos abroad.
A similar regional conference was conducted in January in Milan for Middle East, African and European posts.
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