The Philippine Consul General to Guam, Marciano De Borja, led a series of courtesy visits to some of the CNMI’s top officials on Thursday, touching up on lighthearted fare like Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Philippines, as well as issues shared with the CNMI like the need for a consulate on Saipan and the anticipated workforce demands of multi-billion dollar investors building in the CNMI in the coming years.
Borja’s Capital Hill tour had him meeting with Lt. Gov. Ralph Torres, Senate President Victor Hocog and House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero, as well as Vice Speaker Ralph Demapan.
Joining Borja were Philippine consul Mark Francis Hamoy, Philippine Consulate General information officer Allan Tangayan, United Filipino Organizations officers Maria Annamae Adaza and Bong Malasarte, and soon to be “honorary consul” on Saipan, Eli Arago.
On behalf of the Philippine government, Borja extended his warmest congratulations to Torres for his victory in the November elections last year.
They talked about working with Philippine Labor officials in getting the CNMI prepared for future labor demands.
Consul Hamoy suggested that a symposium on Philippine labor practices be held, just like in Guam where top labor officials gave presentations that clarified “how the [labor] process works on our end.”
This could also happen in the CNMI, Borja’s team said, to “facilitate the deployment of skilled workers.”
Borja touched on similar topics with the Senate president and House speaker. Deleon Guerrero asked Borja if the Philippine government would reconsider the closure of its consular office on Saipan, as even a satellite office here could “facilitate administrative and passport issues” for the Filipino community.
Borja said with a new administration in the Philippines next year, they “will be proposing on how best to reestablish” their presence in the CNMI. A smaller office could perhaps be considered, he said.
Borja’s visit to the CNMI coincides with the PCG’s first consular mission to the CNMI this year at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. Borja’s team aims to hold six missions, every other month this year, to help with passport processing, among other things.