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Department of Foreign Affairs-22October2009-updates

Norway Government, Filipino Community in Scandinavia Rush Aid to Victims of Ondoy and Pepeng

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 02:17 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to Norway, Denmark and Iceland Elizabeth P. Buensuceso informed the Department of Foreign Affairs that the government of Norway is sending 20 million Norwegian kroner (around US$3.4 Million) assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy which ravaged the country last September 26.

The amount will be shared with Indonesia which also suffered from a devastating earthquake in the southern coast of Java. The money will be administered through the United Nations system and various NGOs now providing help to the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who are trying to rebuild lives wrecked by the super typhoon.

Meanwhile, various Filipino organizations, the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches and private organizations in Norway, Denmark and Iceland, rallied to the cry for help from their poor countrymen who were ravaged by the storm and the floods.

Ambassador Buensuceso exhorted her countrymen in these Scandinavian countries to extend whatever assistance they could give, using their own channels of conveyance as well as those in the Embassy’s website, to deliver financial and other kinds of assistance.

In Norway, total amount collected so far reached 328,443.50NOK (or US$57,556.00) coming from various groups such as the Catholic Diocese of Oslo, the SHFC-San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapter in Stavanger, the Living Word Bible Center, the Jesus is Lord Group, and the Filipino Christian Center.

More fund-raising activities are planned in the immediate future. The Filipino Working Group has decided that all proceeds of the Pasko ng Bayan will be donated to the victims. The Bayanihan sa Bayan ni Juan Concert, sponsored by the Filipino Association in Norway (FAN) will be held on November 1, Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway. The Oslo Musik Akademi will also conduct a concert on October 25 to be held at the Røyken Kirke at Hurum Kommune.

The Filipino community in Denmark has also responded in monetary form and in kind. A total of US$33,460..00 had been collected and sent through ABS-CBN, GMA 7, 700 Club Asia and other channels. Groups such as the DK Working Group, Pinay Exclusive Denmark, Filipino Christian Church-Denmark, Copenhagen Christian Church and Babaylan-Denmark had either as a unit, or as separate entities, participate in this effort.

Although few in number, the Filipino community in Iceland also sent $1,451.18 to CFC-FFL.

Ambassador Buensuceso expressed her deep gratitude to the quick response and outpouring of sympathy for the victims extended by the Norwegian government and the members of the Filipino community. She said that these acts of kindness will be remembered as a memorial by God. END

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UNICEF Executive Director Veneman Calls on Consul General Paynor Following Her Recent Trip to RP After Typhoon “Ondoy”

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 01:35 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann A. Veneman called on Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Marciano A. Paynor, Jr. to inform the latter of her recent trip to Manila where she personally assessed the damage and witnessed the relief operations that were being conducted in the aftermath of Ondoy.

She also reported on the formal launch of the UN Flash Appeal for Ondoy victims and the forthcoming visit of UN Undersecretary General John Holmes. Executive Director Veneman also met President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to discuss the rebuilding and recovery efforts and emergency needs that UNICEF can provide.

Veneman said that the UNICEF was the first UN agency to respond to Ondoy, adding that “the Philippines has been a long-time country of involvement for UNICEF.”

Consul General Paynor thanked the Executive Director for the UN’s assistance to the Philippines and noted Veneman’s positive remarks on the efforts of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). Veneman assured the UN’s continued support to the on-going relief and recovery operations stressing that “the government deserves a lot of credit in bringing in the UN in a proper way.” END

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RP Consulate General in San Francisco Conducts Second ‘Consular on Wheels’ to Reno for 2009

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 01:28 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco successfully conducted its second consular outreach mission to Reno, Northern Nevada for 2009 in partnership with the Filipino American Alliance of Nevada (FAAN).

Led by Deputy Consul General Wilfredo C. Santos, the “Consulate on Wheels” team to Reno was composed of Ms. Vicky Mendez, Ms. Erlinda Sesante, Mr. Ramoncito Mendoza, Ms. Glenda Manalastas, Ms. Catherine Perez, Mr. Ramon Lopez, and Mr. John Jiao. It was the 15th outreach mission organized by the Post for 2009.

The outreach activity in Northern Nevada was held at the Gimikan Restaurant at 1255 Stardust St. in Reno. FAAN officers and members, led by President Thelma Frias, assisted the consular team during the outreach activity.

“We sincerely thank the Filipino American community of Northern Nevada for inviting us to bring our services to Reno for the second time this year,” Deputy Consul General Wilfredo C. Santos said.

“This only shows that we have a large and growing community of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the state of Nevada who still maintain close ties to the Philippines,” he added.

A total of 235 services were rendered by the consulate team in Reno. These include the processing of applications for dual citizenship (50), renewal of passports and issuance of travel documents (72), legalization of documents (56), and other services (57). END

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RP Consulate General in San Francisco Visits Fil-Ams in Denver, Colorado

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 01:17 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco successfully conducted its annual consular outreach mission to Denver, Colorado in coordination with the Filipino American Community of Colorado (FACC) and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region V.

It is the second time this year the Philippine Consulate visited the State of Colorado preceded by the consular outreach mission to Colorado Springs held last June.

The “Consulate on Wings” team to Denver was headed by Deputy Consul General Wilfredo C. Santos and composed of Ms.. Cristy Yap, Ms. Helen Comullo, Mr. Cesar Cruz, and Mr. John Jiao.

The outreach activity in Denver was held at the FACC Bahay Kubo Filipino Cultural Center in Edgewater, Colorado which is owned and operated by the oldest Filipino American community organization in the state..

“The success of our consular outreach mission to Denver is due largely to the close collaboration between the local Fil-Am community and the consulate. We all worked to bring the quality consular services offered at the Consulate in San Francisco right here in Denver as we do in all the Northwestern US States we visit under our jurisdiction,” said Deputy Consul General Santos.

“Our kababayans in Denver and surrounding cities applied for renewal of their expired Philippine passports, authentication of legal documents and application for dual citizenship. We are pleased that we were able to provide our complete line of services to our Kababayans in this part of the United States,” he added.

The overwhelming response and participation of the Fil-Am’s in Colorado and nearby areas represents the growing Filipino community all over the United States. Through its mandate and responsive programs, the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco has stepped up its Consular Outreach Missions to the different cities within its jurisdiction to conduct and offer consular services, such as renewal of Philippine passports, legalization of documents, processing of applications for dual citizenship, and conducting the oath-taking ceremony for new dual citizens.

While in Denver, the Consulate team attended the annual Filipiniana Night organized by NaFFAA – Region 5 held at the Four Points Sheraton on October 17. The event was also a fund-raiser for the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in the Philippines.

Deputy Consul General Wilfredo Santos, who administered the oath of allegiance to new dual citizens, provided an update of the ongoing relief operations and the need to continue with providing assistance and donations to affected regions in the Philippines.

“In the spirit of generosity and ‘pakikisama’ or concern for our motherland and our countrymen, I strongly encourage all of you to continue to help and contribute all you can to the ongoing relief efforts which are urgently needed in our country and the many families ravaged by the twin typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng,” he said.

A total of 202 services were rendered by the Consulate team in Denver. These include the processing of applications for dual citizenship (36), renewal of passports and issuance of travel documents (66), legalization of documents (42), and other services (58). END

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President Arroyo to Attend Asean Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand; Summit to Enhance ASEAN Connectivity and Empower ASEAN Peoples

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 01:05 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will attend the 15th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits to be held in Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand on October 23-25.

The President will be joined by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo and Trade Secretary Peter Favila.

The theme “Enhancing Connectivity, Empowerment of Peoples” stemmed from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s vision of ASEAN as a “Community of Action” that is able to act timely and decisively to address threats and challenges; ASEAN as a “Community of Connectivity” where peoples, goods, and investments can travel freely within the region; and ASEAN as a “Community of Peoples” where people have equitable access to human development opportunities.

President Arroyo will push for the Philippines’ priority interests in the Summit which include enhancing regional cooperation on disaster risk reduction under the ASEAN Agreement on the Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in light of the recent calamities that hit the region. The Philippines will also support ASEAN’s common position on climate change.

Moreover, the Philippines will welcome the results of the Ministerial meetings for the expeditious launching and operationalization of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) in order to restore market confidence in ASEAN and boost regional efforts to address the global crisis. It will also call for support of the call for ASEAN-led consultations among other regional groups in Asia and Asia Pacific in a coordinate response to the global economic and financial crisis.

President Arroyo will also solicit support from ASEAN and its dialogue partners for the success of the Philippine Presidency of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York in May 2010.

Among the highlights of the 15th ASEAN Summit is the inauguration of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the first regional mechanism in Asia established to promote and protect human rights.

There will also be an informal meeting between ASEAN Leaders and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, ASEAN Youths, and ASEAN Civil Society as well as a working lunch between the Leaders and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

Summit discussions will focus on the Annual Report of the ASEAN Secretary-General and thematic concerns on ASEAN connectivity, the global economic and financial crisis, disaster management, and human rights.

The Related Summits include the 12th ASEAN-China Summit, 7th ASEAN-India Summit, 12th ASEAN-Japan Summit, 12th ASEAN-ROK Summit, 12th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 4th East Asia Summit.

The ASEAN Leaders will review ASEAN Plus One and ASEAN Plus Three cooperation as well as exchange views on regional and international issues.

They will also adopt the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the inauguration of the AICHR, the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on Strengthening Cooperation on Education to Achieve an ASEAN Caring and Sharing Community, and an ASEAN Declaration on Climate Change.

They will also issue a Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Food Security and Bio-Energy Development and the Statement on East Asia Summit Disaster Management.

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers are expected to sign the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of ASEAN and a Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing the ASEAN-China Centre.

Meanwhile, ASEAN economic ministers will be signing two MOUs between ASEAN and China. One will be on cooperation in intellectual property while the other is on strengthening cooperation in standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment. END

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World-Class Filipino Painter Captures Luxembourg Through His Artworks

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 12:51 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Brussels, in coordination with the Office of the Philippine Honorary Consul General and the Ernst & Young in Luxembourg, held the vernissage of the month-long painting exhibit dubbed as “Luxembourg: A Cultural Heritage” at the Ernst & Young Gallery in Munsbach, Luxembourg last October 6.

Minister and Consul Roy B. Ecraela, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the Philippine Embassy in Brussels, and Mr. Alain Kinsch, Philippine Honorary Consul General in Luxembourg, were the guests of honor during the opening ceremony. Both officials expressed enthusiasm in promoting the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Luxembourg beyond the political and economic relations of the two countries.

Mr. Manuel D. Baldemor, a multi-talented world-class Filipino artist, through this recent exhibit, attempts to convey the beauty of the modern and medieval culture of Luxembourg, as can be clearly discerned from his 24 pieces of artwork.

His recent sojourn in Luxembourg has inspired him to depict in his paintings that country’s natural landscape which he describes as elemental, mysterious, pure and sublime over time.

“I am no good at anything but painting and writing my travel diary in a prolific brush. Showcasing the wealth, diversity and common characteristics of European cultures, I hope that we Asians will learn more about the diversity and vitality and the characteristics of Luxembourg’s cultural life,” Mr. Baldemor remarked.

Mr. Baldemor is a painter, sculptor, printmaker, writer and book illustrator. He is also a UNICEF artist, with his paintings chosen to be featured in UNICEF’s greeting cards and consistently sold all over the world for the past 18 years. Another personal achievement of his is the presence of his paintings in the United Nations Headquarters in New York and a big painting in the lobby of the United Nations in Vienna.

Mr. Baldemor has held numerous one-man exhibits in museums and galleries in the Philippines and abroad including Amsterdam, Ankara, Basel, Beijing, Bergen, Bern, Bratislava, Budapest, Brussels, Cairo, Cascais, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Helsinki, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, Mainz, Moscow, Munich, New York, Osaka, Riga, Seoul, Stockholm, Santiago, Singapore, Teheran, Tallinn, Tokyo, Uppsala, Vienna, Vilnius, Wassenaar and Warsaw.

He received 24 local and international awards and grants and has been chosen artist-in-residence in Singapore, Japan, Israel, Chile, Portugal, Estonia and Switzerland.

The exhibit will be open to the public at the Ernst & Young Gallery in Munsbach until 30 October 2009.. END

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RP-MCC MOU BRINGS PHILIPPINES ONE STEP CLOSER TO MCC COMPACT GRANT

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 12:12 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – In a major step that brings the Philippines closer to concluding a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Agreement, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa and MCC Acting Vice President for Compact Development Darius Teter signed a key Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last October 16.

Ambassador Gaa expressed his appreciation over the progress so far achieved by Philippines as further steps are currently undertaken towards Compact funding eligibility.

He emphasized the Philippine Government’s commitment to promote economic growth through a Compact proposal aimed at benefiting the poorest of the poor in the Philippines while addressing issues involving tax evasion and corruption.

During the Compact signing, Mr. Teter said that “in every way, the Philippines has been a model (MCC) partner.”

The MOU involves a $5.5 million contribution to be provided by the MCC for “beneficiary analyses, engineering designs, and environmental and social impact assessments,” which will allow the Philippines to conduct studies on investments and cost estimates of projects that will best benefit the marginalized.

Information derived from these will be submitted accordingly to the Board of Directors of MCC for Compact funding consideration and would help facilitate Philippine efforts to finalize its proposal for an MCC compact.

The MCC is an independent U.S. aid agency aimed at reducing global poverty through the establishment of partnerships with developing countries worldwide that are committed to good governance, economic freedom and investment in citizenry by offering monetary grants to fund projects focused on achieving sustainable economic growth. END

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RP Mission in Vienna Joins in the Observance of the UN-SPIDER’s International Day for Disaster Preparedness

Posted: 22 Oct 2009 12:02 AM PDT

22 October 2009 – The Philippine Mission in Vienna joined the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)/UN SPIDER’s in celebrating the “International Day for Disaster Reduction” through a program held at the Vienna International Center last October 14.

Mr. Niklas Hedman, Officer-in-Charge of UNOOSA and Chief, Committee Services and Research Section, gave the opening remarks explaining the significance of the event in pursuance of UNOOSA’s mission to ensure that all countries have access to, and develop the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle.

After a short briefing by the Philippine Embassy on the actual situation in the Philippines, Mr. Michael Leitgab, Associate Expert of the UN-SPIDER, Office for Outer Space Affairs, made a presentation on the UN Platform for Spaced-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER) and then proceeded to discuss the UN-SPIDER’s SpaceAid Framework in response to the Philippine disasters.

Earlier, during the recent onslaught of typhoons Ketsana and Parma, the UN-SPIDER and UNOOSA immediately made a special effort to consolidate satellite data on typhoon Ondoy and its impact including post-disaster imagery to support the response effort in the Philippines.

A 24/7 SpaceAid on-duty officer was activated.. In addition, UN SPIDER facilitated and requested the activation of International Mechanisms, tasked certain satellites, contacted additional satellite providers for collections to share with the Philippines, contacted and acquired sources of funding for non-free satellite imagery, and then compiled, uploaded and shared all of this satellite information gathered with the Philippines and other users.

Mr. Juan Carlos Villagran de Leon, Programme Officer for the UN-SPIDER from UNOOSA, gave the closing remarks, thanking Philippine Ambassador to Austria Linglingay F. Lacanlale for the Philippine Embassy’s joint effort with UNOOSA in making the celebration of the International Day of Disaster Preparedness a success. END

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Filipinos in Brunei Darussalam Donate Funds for “Child Watch: Bantay Bata”

Posted: 21 Oct 2009 11:54 PM PDT

22 October 2009 – Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Ambassador Alexander B. Yano personally turned over a total of Brunei $700 to the “Bantay-Bata” (Child Watch) Foundation last October 2.

The fund came from voluntary contributions by Filipinos residing and working in Brunei Darussalam.

The fund donation was received by Ms. Martha P. Corporal, Resource Mobilization assistant of said Foundation.

“The Foundation is so thankful for the generosity and kindness of our fellow Filipinos in Brunei Darussalam,” Ms Corporal said. “The amount will go a long way in helping our unfortunate children,” she added.

Bantay Bata is a child welfare program that not only rescues and rehabilitates sick and abused children, but also provides shelter, therapy, and quality home care for rescued children until they can be reunited with their families or referred to proper child-caring agencies..

The “Bantay-Bata” coin bank has been set up in the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for generous individuals who can give donations for the needy and distressed Filipino children in the Philippines.

Each coin bank contribution is valuable and has provided a lifeline for “Bantay-Bata” all these years to sustain the benificiary children even under times of national economic crisis. Such assistance for distressed children comes in the form of education, legal assistance, medical and health services, adoption, and foster care.

For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of distressed Filipino Children, please visit http://www.bantaybata163.org or e-mail bb163reports@abs-cbn.com. END

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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to Visit the Philippines

Posted: 21 Oct 2009 10:51 PM PDT

22 October 2009 – At the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi of the People’s Republic of China will travel to the Philippines for an official visit on October 28-29.

The visit will be an opportunity for the two countries to review its bilateral relations and discuss ways of enhancing economic and trade cooperation.

Secretary Romulo and Foreign Minister Yang will also discuss and plan the activities for the celebration of the 35th anniversary of Philippines-China diplomatic relations in 2010.

The visit of Foreign Minister Yang is one of several high-level visits for the year. Recent high-level visits of Chinese officials to the Philippines include Mr. Zhang Gaoli, Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and Tianjin CPC Party Secretary in September; and Mr. Lui Qi, Member of the Politburo and Beijing CPC Party Secretary in July. END

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