The Bayani Association hosted a farewell party for the staff of the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare last Sunday at the Filipino Workers Resource Center in Susupe.
Some 50 members of the civic group attended the party days ahead of the departure of some consulate staff, including Consul General Medardo G. Macaraig, and the consulate shutdown after Oct. 31.
“We wanted to acknowledge the consulate staff for their assistance and support to the Filipino community through the years,” said Bayani Association president Lolly Velasco yesterday.
The group presented certificates of appreciation to Macaraig, POLO officer-in-charge Julia F. Fabian, Antonette S. Ocon, consular assistants Nerisa N. Anastacio and Violaflor Enerlan-Ancheta, finance officer Rowena G. Tolosa, and cultural officer Hazel Manahan-Mendoza.
Guam Consul Edgar Tomas Auxilian, lead person in the takeover of consular responsibilities from Saipan to Guam, was also present.
The group also recognized the 10 instructors for the Consulate's skills upgrading and livelihood training program.
“We are saddened by the decision to close the consulate. Bayani Association was formed because of them. Our group is composed of graduates from their training programs,” Velasco told Saipan Tribune.
She expressed hope that the Philippine Consulate General in Agana will keep their word to the Filipino community in the Northern Marianas after the closure of the Saipan consulate.
“We vow to support the Guam Consulate as they take over the responsibilities of the Saipan Consulate,” said Velasco, adding that the Bayani Association is collaborating with medical volunteers from the Commonwealth Health Center to continue the consulate's health screening program.
Sunday's featured entertainment included song numbers by 2012 Little Ms. Philippines-CNMI Bernice Shane Q. Sabino and dances by Bayani members.
The United Filipino Organization, a network of some 30 Filipino groups in the Commonwealth, also hosted a farewell party for Macaraig and other consulate staff last night at Ming Palace in Garapan.