Republic of the Philippines

EMBASSY OF THE PHILIPPINES WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Embassy hosts participants of the English Language training for Officials (ELTO) Programme in Wellington, New Zealand

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The Embassy of the Philippines hosted six (6) members of the English Language Training for Officials (ELTO) Programme for ASEAN Missions from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) on 05 June 2013 for an informal roundtable discussion on Philippine developments and diplomacy in general. Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Consul Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa welcomed Ms. Ohn Mar Oo and Ms. Phyo Sandy Lynn from Myanmar, Mr. Dang Minh Dang Khoa from Vietnam, Mr. Yours Symakara from Cambodia and Mr. Flaviano de Rosa Freitas and Ms. Fitriana dos Santos Gomes from Timor-Leste to the Embassy. They were accompanied by Dr. Alastair Kerr, Senior English Language Institute Teacher from VUW’s School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies.

The ELTO Programme brings government officials from developing countries in Asia to New Zealand for English language training. The programme of study is for seven weeks at either Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology or Eastern Institute of Technology and thirteen weeks at the English Language Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. The ELTO Programme, operating since 1992 is funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. To date, nearly 800 officials have successfully participated in the programme.

As part of the ELTO Programme the ASEAN Committee in Wellington (ACW), composed of ASEAN Heads of Diplomatic Missions meets and interacts with young ASEAN leaders in the field of diplomacy. It underpins the importance of youth in nation-building and provides a venue for the program participants to discuss common interests or concerns. It is also a good platform for ASEAN Ambassadors and High Commissioners to share their knowledge on national, regional and global issues affecting our region.

This was the second time that the Philippine Embassy has participated in meeting and interacting with ELTO participants.

Discussions focused on the Philippines’ relations with New Zealand. Participants were also very interested in learning what it takes to become an Ambassador. Ambassador Benavidez readily shared her first-hand knowledge on the matter and provided invaluable advice on the right path to take in entering the Foreign Service. She was happy to encourage the participants to forge their way into the diplomatic world stating that “the youth is the future of a country and the hope of a nation and, as such, should be supported and inspired to enter into service for one’s country. After all, diplomacy is a nation’s first line of defence and diplomats are in the front lines promoting and protecting the interests of the countries they represent and serving their people and looking after their welfare and well-being.”

Ambassador Benavidez participated in the ASEAN Panel for the discussion of “Governance in ASEAN” organized by the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) for the ELTO Programme on 29 November 2012. In her presentation during the Panel discussion, Ambassador Benavidez highlighted the reform agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine government resolutely pursuing the straight and righteous path to restore the culture of honesty, integrity and hard work and contribute to inclusive growth, sustained development and community driven progress. She also stated that in ASEAN, the Philippines is deeply and actively involved in good governance issues, initiatives and imperatives as part of its mission and vision to contribute to the realisation of the ASEAN Community by 31 December 2015.

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