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Thursday, April 24, 2014

‘Successful’ mobile consular service concludes on Saipan

Philippine Consulate General in Guam consul Edgar Thomas Q. Auxillian, center, poses with his staff and volunteers from the United Filipino Organization at the end of the three-day mobile consular services on Saipan last Thursday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. (Mark Rabago) The Philippine Consulate General in Guam wrapped up its first mobile consular services on Saipan on Thursday, with Consul Edgar Thomas Q. Auxillian describing the three-day operation a “great success.”

He said the mobile consular service, held at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center, was able to process 380 e-passports, 17 machine readable ready passports, 144 extension of passports, 18 authentications, 11 Philippines Department of Labor and Employment contract verification, 19 notarials, and one dual citizenship.

Auxillian said they were able to issue MRRP (the old green passports) to those who didn’t have an appointment but needed to have their passports extended for emergency health issues or because they needed to file their CW visas.

The MRRP passports are valid for only over a year and expires on October 2015.

“This is requirement by Department of Foreign Affairs that by November 2014 all that we should be using are already electronic passports. We also made extension of passports for the purpose of renewing their CW permits and similar needs up to October 2015. It’s a one-year extension only to accommodate their needs that they have six months valid passport.”

A mix-up in email addresses also led to the accommodation of more than their 360-person quota.

“We originally announced 360 but then when we forgot to track down the numbers of applications we received via email. We realized later on that we already exceeded 360. So we just accommodated everyone. Internally we put a limit of 400 but 20 didn’t show up.”

He said some emailed their applications to the consulate general’s email address instead of saipan.pcgagana@gmail.com, which was specifically set up to take appointments for e-passports.

“We advise our kababayans here, especially those who are applying for renewals of e-passports, to address their applications to the correct email address. Also read the advisories and announcements on Facebook, newspapers, and radio and try to send it as soon as possible.”

The email snafu notwithstanding, Auxillian said he was still happy with how the three-day consular outreach turned out.

“It was a lot better than the previous mobile consular services that we’ve conducted here on Saipan. For one it was very orderly, the pre-appointment system that we tried to adapt really helped us tremendously. I also would like to thank our kababayans who applied for passports for their patience and most especially for their cooperation and understanding. It was very orderly and a great success. I also beg for the understanding of those whom we didn’t accommodate.”

He also extended his gratitude to the United Filipino Organization led by its president Annamae Adaza.

“To our volunteers from UFO and some who are not members but still helped us. From the bottom of our hearts we really appreciate them for their great help. They helped us a lot in terms of maintaining order, assisting those coming in by directing them to which station they should go, and giving advice to our kababayans in filling out the forms and things like that.”

Joining Auxillian on the trip to Saipan were six staff from the consulate general in Guam: passport officer Francisco Magno, communications and information officer Allan Tangayan, finance officer Lisa Manarin, administrative officer Thelma Sta. Maria, cultural officer Mildred Sayurin, and consular assistant Lani Revilla.

The next consular service on Saipan will be held in May 2014 and will include the islands of Tinian and Rota. Auxillian said there is also a chance a representative from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will join them in May as a request has already been forward to OWWA for this purpose.

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