Four months after announcing that they have moved to a new and bigger office, the Philippine Honorary Consulate held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their official residence at the Sun Palace Hotel in Susupe last Friday, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres leading other public and private officials in witnessing the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Philippine honorary consul to the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” DM. Arago Arago said that, with the new office, he and his staff will be able to accommodate more people and better serve the needs of the Filipino community. He also gave thanks to the continued public and private support for his office. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, Arago said, is a demonstration of how that partnership has played a role in the office’s success. Arago pledged that he will continue to work hard for the Filipino community, so long as he has that support.
Aside from Torres, others who were also at the ribbon-cutting were Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, first lady Diann Torres, Rev. Fr. Jason Granado, who did the invocation, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, TanHoldings president and chief executive officer Jerry Tan, various lawmakers, private sector leaders, and representatives of the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Palauan, and Micronesian communities. Philippine Consul Mark Hamoy of the Philippine General Consulate of Guam also spoke via a phone call.
In Torres’ remarks, he remembers leaving for the United States several years ago when there was no Filipino community yet in sight, which made him appreciate them more once he came back, adding that the community has become family and that he is here as a partner and will continue to maintain that partnership.
Adding to Tan’s remarks that many Filipinos have become an important part of the community, Torres said that the honorary consular office offers comfort to the Filipino community and with Arago’s leadership and commitment, they are in good hands.
“You may choose somewhere else, you may live somewhere else, but CNMI is your home. On behalf of the lieutenant governor, we also want to say thank you for choosing CNMI as your home, and we are here as your partner, and we want to maintain that partnership,” said Torres.
In his remarks, Tan said that Arago has been a close friend and colleague for many years and that, since Arago’s appointment by the Philippine government five years ago until today, one can only imagine how much work and issues Arago has seen after the CNMI went through two super typhoons and a pandemic.
Although he believes that there should be a full Philippine consular office in the CNMI, “nevertheless, consul Eli has done a great job of handling all the problems over the last five years in the Commonwealth, when we went [through and are still going through] a very difficult period,” Tan said.
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Tan said he knows how much private businesses rely on the CNMI-Only Transitional Workers and that he appreciates everything they do for the private sector and for economic development. Tan assured Arago that he will continue to do what he can to support him and his office.