The Philippine Consulate General on Saipan bid farewell to the Filipino community on Tinian as it held its final mobile consular services at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino and JC Café last April 21 and 22.
Consul General Medardo Macaraig led the team that carried out the mobile consular services, which included Consulate staffers Jose Sto. Domingo, Nerisa Anastacio, Liza Dean, Lauren Arce, Antonio David, and Antonette Ocon.
Last Sunday's event rendered a total of 294 services to Filipinos on Tinian-an increase of 63 percent compared to the 119 services provided during the last mobile consular services held in September 2011.
Of the 294 services, 82 were for passport renewals and eight for new applications; 10 reports of birth; 10 special powers of attorney; two affidavits; two reports of marriage; 134 memberships with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; five overseas employment certificates; and 41 applications for overseas absentee voting.
This will be the last mobile consular services for Tinian as the Consulate's last day of service to the entire Filipino community in the CNMI is on Oct. 31, after which the Philippine Consulate in Guam will be exercising consular jurisdiction in the Commonwealth.
Macaraig, in an interview yesterday, noted an increase in activities at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, which is said is “good because there's a lot of Filipinos employed there.”
He also pointed out that it was their first time for their group to conduct mobile consular services at JC Café, which many of the Filipinos preferred because of its “relatively informal ambiance.”
According to Macaraig, many of the Filipinos they met on Tinian last week are still worried about the imminent closure of the Saipan Consulate which regularly conducts mobile consular services to both Tinian and Rota.
“A lot of people are concerned about the closure but the Department of Foreign Affairs is planning a lot of things to alleviate these concerns,” he told Saipan Tribune.
These “things,” Macaraig said, include having the Guam Consulate carry on the mobile consular services. He earlier said that Guam Consul General Bayani Mangibin expressed his commitment to take over the responsibilities of both Saipan and Palau consular offices, which are among the posts that will be shut down by DFA within the year.
Moreover, Macaraig said he is working on finalizing his nominees for honorary consul on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
While he has yet to decide on his nominee for Tinian honorary consul, Macaraig pointed out that there will at least be an honorary consul from Saipan who can assist the Filipinos on Tinian.
Macaraig said that the short-listed names will be submitted to and have to be approved by DFA and acknowledged by the U.S. State Department.
Macaraig recognized Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz, Fr. Isidro Ogumoro of San Jose Parish Church, general manager Tom Liu of Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino, Jimmy Casauran and the rest of Tinian Dynasty staff, Lot Gunao and the JC Café staff, and Francisca Esguerra for their assistance to the Consulate during the mobile consular services.
“The Consulate extends its deepest appreciation to the people of Tinian for their support and requests that the same warm and friendly reception be extended to the Philippine Consulate General in Guam,” added Macaraig.
A consular team will also conduct the final mobile consular services on Rota at the Northern Marianas College on April 28 and 29.