Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador joins the Church of Christ information seminar in Auckland, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to the Filipino community and hold seminars on subjects of great interest to them in New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez together with Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia, Honorary Vice Consul Virginia Russell and Atty. Gene Bagsic from the Philippine Consulate in Auckland met and interacted with the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) on 3 May 2014 at the Western Springs Garden Community Hall in Auckland. Following the “Welcome Brethren/Guests Iglesia Ni Cristo video showing, Bro. Rani Lamajan, Resident Minister, Locale of Auckland warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and the honorary consular officers and thanked them and the congregation for their presence and cooperation. He said that the gathering is a highly useful one that would help answer common questions Filipinos frequently ask as they live and work in New Zealand. Ambassador Benavidez thanked the Church of Christ for making it possible to conduct the information seminar which provided Filipinos with relevant and up-to-date information on New Zealand laws, rules and regulations and a good opportunity to interact with the speakers to address concerns and issues for more effective settlement and better integration in New Zealand. Consul General Paulo Garcia and Atty. Gene Bagsic discussed legal matters of interest to Filipino migrants, such as marriage and family relations law, immigration law, wills and trusts, enduring powers of attorney, rental and property rights and obligations, pensioner benefits, dual citizenship and dealing with the police and courts. Specific scenarios were shared and discoursed to provide a clearer picture of common cases encountered by Filipinos in New Zealand.

Ambassador Benavidez enjoined the Filipinos to avail of the overseas voting registration which would start on 6 May 2014 until 31 October 2015 and exercise their right to suffrage during the voting period for overseas Filipinos on 9 April 2016 to 9 May 2016. Vice Consul Virginia Russell informed the group that she provided JP services and the opening hours and services of the Consulate.

An enlightening open forum, interactive session and lunch fellowship between participants and all speakers followed. The Church of Christ, the Philippine Embassy based in Wellington and the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Auckland received feedback from the participants that they found the seminar very informative, rewarding and time well spent. They were enriched with more information on a number of areas that impact significantly on their lives as migrants, workers or residents in New Zealand. With the positive feedback and recurring requests from the participants and other Filipinos to hold a similar event, the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulate intend to organize a similar one for the benefit of Filipinos in Wellington and other parts in the North and South Islands in cooperation with the respective Filipino organizations, associations and groups.

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