Australian Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia Martin Quinn dropped by the Philippine Consulate General on Saipan yesterday for an unofficial visit.
Quinn was welcomed by Consulate staff led by officer in charge Jose Sto. Domingo and Philippine Overseas Labor Office officer-in-charge Julie Fabian.
Quinn was toured inside the Consulate office on the 5th floor of the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe, where he stayed for about half an hour to enjoy a cup of coffee and witness the volume of Filipinos seeking the services of the Consulate.
Sto. Domingo said in an interview yesterday that Quinn asked about the Consulate's plan to close down. The office's last day is on Oct. 31.
“Ambassador Quinn saw that the Philippine Consulate is very much busy and its services essential, so he remarked that the Consulate's presence on island is important. We informed him about the efforts of the Filipino community to request for the retention of the office but the decision to close down the Consulate is already final,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Sto. Domingo said that Quinn asked about the most recent population of Filipinos on Saipan, and was familiar that Filipinos and Chinese comprised the greatest number of foreign workers in the Commonwealth at the peak of the garment industry in the late '90s.
He said the visiting ambassador also inquired about the current immigration status of and policies affecting Filipino workers on the islands and shared that Australian nationals also fall under the foreign workers category in FSM and Palau, which falls under his jurisdiction.
According to the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, Quinn graduated from the Sydney University and is a career foreign service officer with extensive professional experience in the Asia Pacific Region.
Among Quinn's diplomatic postings were as Foreign Policy Adviser at the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence in 2010, Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009, Counselor at the Australian Embassy in Seoul, and First Secretary in Indonesia, and Third Secretary in Thailand.