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ASEAN Women’s Circle Activities in CambodiaPosted: 02 Sep 2009 04:17 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – The ASEAN Women’s Circle (AWC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was revived in January 2009 under the leadership and guidance of H.E Sun Saphoeun, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who was designated the new Chief Patron of the AWC.

The AWC conducted a series of activities last June beginning with the 2nd AWC High Tea hosted by the Philippines on June 2 at the Sokha Club Hotel. During the event, AWC Chief Patron H.E Sun Saphoeun formally introduced Madame Dr. Ma. Elena L. Wong, spouse of Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Noe E. Wong; and Madame Swi Swajaya, spouse of Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Gede Ngurah Swajaya, as the new patrons of the AWC.

On June 5, the AWC visited an orphanage in the Kampong Speu Province to donate food, clothing, school supplies and basic necessities to the orphans at the Orphan Care and Training Organization. END

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Philippines Hosts Third ASEAN Agriculture Attachés MeetingPosted: 02 Sep 2009 03:46 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – The Philippines hosted the third ASEAN Agriculture Attaché’s Meeting at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy in Washington. Seen in the picture above is Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America Willy C. Gaa as he delivers his welcome remarks.

“The agriculture sector continues to play a central and vital role in our respective economies… Harnessing the opportunities to improve agricultural productivity through international cooperation can contribute to our common goals of food security and poverty alleviation,” Ambassador Gaa said.

The Ambassador thanked Mr. Victoriano Leviste for his 26-year service in the D.C. Post and welcomed Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa as the new Agriculture Attaché.

The ASEAN agriculture group started meeting regularly this year to discuss topics of mutual interest concerning agricultural trade and cooperation with the United States. The first meeting was hosted by Thailand and the second meeting by Malaysia. END

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Dialogue Mechanism on Human Rights Institutionalized between German NGOs and Berlin PEPosted: 02 Sep 2009 03:34 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Berlin held a dialogue with representatives from nine German non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on human rights concerns in the Philippines on August 27 at the Embassy´s Bulwagang Bagumbayan.

Embassy officials cited the various efforts and accomplishments of the Philippine Government in addressing human rights issues, including updates on the specific cases raised by the NGO representatives.

As a result of the two-hour meeting, both parties agreed to continue on a regular basis the dialogue on human rights concerns in the Philippines. END

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RP Embassy in Berne Conducts Consular Outreach Services in AppenzelPosted: 02 Sep 2009 02:35 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – A consular team from the Philippine Embassy in Berne travelled to Herisau in the Canton of Appenzel, Switzerland last 29 August to render services to the members of the Filipino community residing in the area.

The team, led by Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Maria Theresa P. Lazaro, conducted mobile registration for overseas absentee voting, received applications for the Philippine machine readable passport and for dual citizenship. Members of the team also replied to various inquiries posed by Filipinos on Philippine immigration rules, visas, adoption, property rights, succession, among others.

The consular team extended services to almost 150 Filipino residents of St. Gallen, Appenzel, Winterthur, Schaffhausen, and others who came from Germany. The consular outreach resulted to 60 passport applications, 57 OAV registrants, and 12 dual citizenship applications.

The Embassy personnel were warmly received by the leaders of the Samahang Pilipina St. Gallen who conveyed the request to the Embassy to extend the said services.

The event was the first consular outreach program conducted by the Philippine Embassy in Berne. Given the productive experience, the Embassy considers conducting a similar outreach program in other Swiss Cantons depending on distance and number of prospective Filipino applicants. END

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Ambassador Lazaro Delivers Lecture at the University of FribourgPosted: 02 Sep 2009 02:05 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Maria Theresa P. Lazaro was invited to speak before 50 students who were invited from all over the world to attend the Summer University of the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg to speak on “Challenges of Federalism.”

The Institute of Federalism’s International Research and Consulting Center (IRCC) is a centre of competence renowned worldwide in the fields of federalism, state organization, democracy, and human rights.

During her lecture, Ambassador Lazaro presented to the group an overview of the political system in the Philippines and the current challenges with regard to federalism and decentralization. She gave the conclusion that it is only the people who could determine the government which is best for them, through discussions, consultations, and debate, which is genuine democracy.

Also present during the lecture were Professors Peter Hänni, Director of the Institute, and Eva Maria Belser, Head of the International Centre.

The Institute has conducted Study Tours on Swiss Federalism for Filipino members from various sectors including government, media, and academe to provide an extensive view of the institutions and mechanisms on Swiss Federalism.

The tour is part of a three-year cooperation program between the Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG) of U.P. Diliman and the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg under the sponsorship of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. END

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RP Embassy Donates Philippine Books to the Lao National LibraryPosted: 02 Sep 2009 01:04 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – A collection of nearly 400 new Philippine books were formally turned over by the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane, Lao PDR to the Lao National Library during a ceremony held at the Embassy on August 25.

The turnover was led by Philippine Ambassador to the Lao PDR Marilyn J. Alarilla and formally accepted by Ms. Kongdeuane Nettavong, Director General of the Lao National Library.

The donated Philippine books were openly displayed inside the Embassy during the ceremony, enabling guests the opportunity to glance and appreciate them before being delivered to the Lao National Library.

The books were mainly about Philippine culture, landscapes and historical sites, corporate social responsibility, local governance and peace education, among others. The books are to be displayed inside a designated Philippine Section at the Lao National Library.

The materials are expected to spark interest among Lao students and teachers, researchers, travelers, tourists, business persons, and the general public about the Philippines. The initiative will also enhance Philippine-Laos diplomatic relations which started in 1955.

Laos is home to a significant number of OFWs, mostly high-skilled and professional workers employed in various projects in the country.

The books are made available through the book solicitation program of the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane from various Philippine government agencies and universities, companies and private foundations, as well as Filipino authors and individuals.

In her speech delivered during the ceremony, Ambassador Alarilla said that the Philippine Section at the Lao National Library is a “living project” as the Embassy will continue with its program of soliciting books for the Lao Library to promote a better knowledge and understanding of the Philippines, and thus contribute to further enhancing the warm relations between the Governments of the Lao PDR and the Philippines.

In response, Mme. Kongdeuane extended her gratitude, on behalf of the Lao National Library and the Lao Government, to the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane for its admirable initiative in donating valuable reference materials about the Philippines which will surely help Lao readers and the general public in their research and other study projects. END

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Chicago Consulate General Conducts “Consulate on Wheels” in St. Louis, MissouriPosted: 02 Sep 2009 12:56 AM PDT

02 September 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago completed a consular outreach mission to St. Louis, Missouri on August 22 in coordination with the Philippine Arts Foundation and the Filipino community in St. Louis, Missouri and in Southern Illinois. The consular services were held at the St. Louis Library, Kingshighway Branch.

Led by Consular General Blesila C. Cabrera, the Consular team was composed of Ms. Maria Janora M. Bernardo, Mr. Berth D. Salvador, Ms. Edita Del Mundo-Nano, Mr. Antonio M. Allam,Jr., Ms. Maria Rosenia L. Centeno and Mr. Eduardo A. Salazar.

“We are pleased with the large turnout of applicants availing of our various services,” Consul General Blesila C. Cabrera said during the meeting with the Fil-Am community leaders and volunteers. “This only proves that the Filipino community in St. Louis and other cities of Missouri is growing, with a corresponding increase in the demand for consular services and assistance.”

About 300 people availed of the Consulate services. The bulk of services consisted of application for renewal of Philippine passports (124), dual citizenship (36), notarials/civil register (35) and visa (3), and registered as overseas absentee voters (102). The Consular team also attended numerous queries mostly on dual citizenship, ownership of property, permanent residence and study in the Philippines visas, tourism and overseas absentee voting.

Consul General Cabrera administered the oath taking of dual citizens. It was a blissful occasion for Filipino-Americans who took their oath of allegiance to reacquire Philippine citizenship. It was witnessed by family members and relatives who took pictures to record the event.

The Consular team also provided information and replied to tourism-related queries like tourism destinations and medical tourism. Promotional material, posters and brochures were made available by the Philippine Department of Tourism office in Chicago. Information on (OAV) was made available to the public as well.

The success of the consular outreach to St. Louis, Missouri was made possible through the assistance and cooperation of the local community leaders particularly, Mr. Jose U. Navarro and Ms. Marita M. Domingo. The Filipino Community expressed their appreciation to the Consulate and requested that the consular service to Missouri be done every year. END

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RP Consulate in Sydney Conducts Forums on Dual Citizenship and OAV across New South WalesPosted: 02 Sep 2009 12:24 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in Sydney conducted forums with Filipino communities across New South Wales to promote the Dual Citizenship program, which allows Filipino-Australians to regain their Philippine citizenship without affecting their Australian citizenship.

Consul General Eva G. Betita and officers of the Philippine Consulate held talks with former Filipinos in Campbelltown, Blacktown, Saint Mary, Lismore, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, and Dubba to provide information on the Dual Citizenship program of the Philippines.

“Many former Filipinos desire to regain their Philippine Citizenship, but only need the opportunity to go about it. The Consulate wants to help make dual citizenship accessible to former Filipinos, who are spread across the state, by undertaking mobile consular missions to cities and towns where there is a concentration of Filipino-Australians,” said Consul General Betita.

The Philippines enacted R.A. 9225 – The Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act – in September 2003 to establish a procedure for former Filipinos who have become naturalized citizens of other countries to re-acquire Philippine citizenship without affecting their current citizenship status.

By the end of June 2009, about 2,500 Philippine-born Australians have re-acquired their Philippine citizenship through the Consulate since the Dual Citizenship Law took effect. The Consulate notes that its number of dual citizenship applicants has been increasing since the year started.

The Consulate also rallied Philippine dual citizens, as well as Filipinos working in New South Wales, to register as overseas absentee voters (OAV) for the Philippine Presidential elections in May 2010.

Any Filipino-Australian association or group of Filipino-Australians can request the Consulate to hold a dual citizenship and OAV forum in their area. Interested parties may query with the Philippine Consulate through its email contact@philippineconsulate.con.au or the telephone 02 9262 7377. END

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RP Ambassador to The Holy See Assumes Post, Registers for Absentee VotingPosted: 02 Sep 2009 12:17 AM PDT

2 September 2009 – Mercedes Arrastia-Tuason has assumed her role as Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See.

Ambassador Arrastia-Tuason arrived in Rome on August 25 and joined Filipino priests in registering as overseas absentee voters. She is the 221st registrant of the Embassy.

The Ambassador campaigned among Filipinos in Rome to register for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) before the deadline last August.

In her visit to the Pontifico Collegio Filippino, Ambassador Arrastia-Tuason invited the newly-arrived priests from the Philippines to register for the OAV at the Embassy. The Collegio Filippino is the residence of Filipino priests Rome doing post-graduate studies in the eternal city’s pontifical universities.

As of August 28, the Embassy has posted a total of 226 registrants, surpassing the new registrations of 2003/2004. END

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