The Philippine Consulate General in Guam is looking at having its first ever consular outreach service in the Northern Marianas in February, some three months after the closure of the Saipan consulate.
Vice Consul Pat Cortes confirmed in a phone interview yesterday the announcement of their “indicative” schedule for the consular outreach services this 2013, as follows: February - Saipan; June - Saipan/Tinian; September - Rota; and December - Saipan.
Cortes said these target months were determined by Consul General Bayani V. Mangibin, with the exact dates to be announced once finalized so that Filipinos in the CNMI can avail of consular services such as passport renewal, report of birth, notary, and report of marriage.
“For each of those target months, we'll ask for authority from Manila to conduct these services,” she said.
Cortes said consular outreach services have financial implications for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, which include airfare and accommodation expenses for the consular team that will fly to the CNMI.
She explained that the number of consulate staff that would comprise the team would depend on the approval from the Manila office and on the demand for consular services on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
The demand, Cortes noted, would be determined based on the inquiries they received or will receive by phone call, email, or through social media.
The Guam Consulate will also coordinate with Filipino organizations and leaders from the Commonwealth to ask for an estimate of the number of individuals who need specific consular services.
“Then later on, we can determine which equipment to bring, how long we're going to conduct the consular outreach services, and the number of staff we'll bring,” said Cortes, adding that she will sit down with Mangibin during his return from Manila on Jan. 13 so they can iron out the details on the scheduled consular outreach services.
Cortes said they will also do their best and try to consider conducting the consular outreach services during any community event hosted by Filipino organizations in the Northern Marianas.
The consul thanked the Filipino community on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota for their patience and understanding as they try to decide on the dates when they will extend consular services to the islands.
“We are definitely working on it and we are coordinating with DFA Manila. We'll communicate our plans to our Filipino community leaders once these plans are finalized,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Cortes also thanked Filipinos in the Commonwealth for being actively engaged with the Guam consulate, informing the office of their concerns through any of the available communication avenues.
“Rest assured that we will continue our services to the Filipinos in the Marianas. The Guam consulate is always open to attend to their concerns,” she added.
For more information, visit http://philippinesguam.org, Agana Pcg Facebook page, email email@example.com, or call 682-2222.