Philippine consulate to ‘open on Dec 20’

DUBAI — The Philippine Consulate in Dubai will be fully functional by January 2005, with a soft launch scheduled on December 20, announced Libran Cabactulan, Philippine ambassador to the UAE at a meeting held on Monday evening.

By Ramona Ruiz

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Published: Wed 8 Dec 2004, 11:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:24 PM

“We already have a budget for the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, and expect to have full blast operations sometime in January next year. We currently have five personnel, headed by Consul-General Generoso Calonge. Four staff recently arrived from Manila, while three staff will be hired locally from the UAE,” said Cabactulan.

A location has already been selected, which is five blocks away from the Philippine Overseas Labour Office, the temporary site of the consulate. Delia Albert, former Philippine foreign affairs secretary, inaugurated the consulate in April this year.

The ambassador convened with Filipino community members to discuss two main agenda — the immediate need to have a coordinated fund-raising initiative in aid of Filipinos in storm-ravaged areas in the Philippines; and setting up of a Filipino foundation in the UAE by the end of this year or early 2005.

It was agreed that money as well as medicine and non-perishable food items would be handled by the different organisations, and the fund-raising activities are to be coordinated with Labour Attache Vicente Cabe and the ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel in Dubai.

The cut-off date for all donations was set on December 20. Under ABS-CBN’s ‘Sagip Kapamilya’, the Filipino network has opened an account with Emirates Bank International for cash donations, while donations in kind are to be sent to Skyfreight and Coriner Cargo offices latest by December 11.

“We advise community members to use official channels by requesting the groups’ treasurers and members to handle the funds. The embassy isn’t allowed to conduct direct solicitation or handle cash donations. Everything should be handled by the organisation,” said Cabactulan.

He added that details of each donation will be posted at the Consulate for a transparent operation.

Marianito Roque, visiting Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator, said: “What we are dealing with is a national calamity – a national emergency situation so our priority at the moment is to provide immediate relief. OWWA is going on a medical mission in Quezon and Nueva Ecija. We will extend assistance to anyone, even those who are not families of Overseas Filipino workers.”

Cabactulan explained the mechanism of the foundation that will be registered in the Philippines and in the UAE. “A bona fide member will pay a one-time fee. The money will not be spent as resources will be built up through time. The idea here is sustainability. If somebody goes home and seeks help from the foundation, an executive committee assesses the validity of the request and acts accordingly,” said Cabactulan.

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