The Philippine Consulate General on Saipan held its last mobile consular services on Rota on April 28 and 29, a week after conducting it on the neighboring island of Tinian.
Consul General Medardo Macaraig led the team that held the mobile consular services at the Northern Marianas College Rota campus.
Joining Macaraig were consulate staff Jose Sto. Domingo, Rowena Tolosa, Liza Dean, Hazel Manahan-Mendoza, Antonio David, and Antonette Ocon.
The team rendered a total of 285 services during the event. Of this number, 92 were for passports, one passport extension, five reports of birth, two special powers of attorney, two certifications, one affidavit, 76 Overseas Workers Welfare Administration memberships, and 106 applications and other related services for overseas absentee voting.
The number of services saw an increase of almost 64 percent compared to the numbers from the October 2011 mobile consular services.
“The consulate extends its deepest appreciation to the people of Rota for their warm reception and support,” said Macaraig in a statement.
Macaraig thanked everyone who made all the consular services on Rota “extremely successful,” including Mayor and Mrs. Melchor Mendiola, Alejandro Badilles, Fr. Charlie Borja of San Francisco de Borja Church, Ofelia Atalig, Gina Sasakura, Ruby Traya, and Maria Luz “Emith” Sta. Teresa.
He requested that the same reception and support be extended to the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Guam, which will take over the responsibilities of the Saipan Consulate after its last day on Oct. 31.
Citing budgetary constraints, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs decided that the Saipan Consulate General will be among the posts that will be closed down within the year.
In an interview yesterday, Macaraig said he confirmed with Filipinos on Rota that the closure will proceed as scheduled and that the only factor that can affect the decision to shut down the Saipan Consulate is the petition calling for its retention.
Copies of the petition, spearheaded by the United Filipino Organization and with some 5,300 signatures from Filipinos in the CNMI, were sent to top Philippine government offices and are currently being followed up by Manila-based UFO members.
Macaraig, however, assured the Filipino community on Rota that the Guam Consulate will carry on the mobile consular services not just to their island but to Saipan and Tinian as well at least once a year initially.
The frequency of these mobile consular services, he said, can be increased should the need arise in the future.
Macaraig also pointed out that he will be nominating honorary consuls from each of the three islands. These names have yet to be submitted to DFA pending receipt of pertinent documents from the nominees.