PHL Ambassador meets with the Filipino community in Rarotonga, Cook Islands
As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to the Filipino communities in the Pacific island nations under its jurisdiction, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez met with the members of the Filipino community at the St. Mary’s Church Hall in Rarotonga, Cook Islands on 23 September 2014. There are about 230 Filipinos, 15 of whom have become permanent residents, contributing to the national development of the Philippines and the Cook Islands. The Government and People of the Cook Islands recognize and are thankful for their excellent service and work ethics in various sectors of employment and businesses. Ambassador Benavidez spoke before the Filipinos and their families, shared with them the deep appreciation of the Philippines and Cook Islands for their crucial roles, contributions and “bayanihan” spirit especially during times of disasters, reiterated the gratitude of the Filipino people for their assistance and solidarity in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan and exhorted them to avail of the services of the Philippine Embassy mobile consular team who will be in Rarotonga on 27-29 September 2014. She highlighted the importance of registering as an overseas voter to enable them to exercise their right to vote for the Philippines’ national leaders in 2016 and answered their questions on processing of employment contracts and related matters.
During the presentation of credentials ceremony before the Queen’s Representative H.E. Tom Marsters held at the Government House on 24 September 2014, Ambassador Benavidez stated “people-to-people ties remain at the forefront of our bilateral relations as Cook Islands is home to about 230 Filipinos contributing to the economic development of both our countries. They enhance our strong relationship and translate into practical ways our shared commitment to work together and develop alongside each other. The presence of a growing number of Filipinos engaged in various professions, businesses and employment levels in Your Excellency’s beautiful country strengthen the people based relationship we enjoy with the Cook Islands and deepen the reservoir of goodwill and understanding between our two peoples and support for each other. The Philippines deeply appreciates the hospitality and recognition accorded to Filipinos living and working in the Cook Islands and the continued cooperation and support extended by the Government of the Cook Islands for their welfare and well-being.”
In his speech, His Excellency Tom Marsters, the Queen’s Representative acknowledged “the increasing number of Filipino workers and residents in the Cook Islands, who contribute towards the growth of the Cook Islands service industry. Furthermore, our most recent permanent residence ceremony which was held last year, welcomed three more Filipino nationals into the fabric of the Cook Islands. We now have a total of fifteen Filipino Cook Islanders.” He jokingly said that “you are not allowed to take them back.”
Several members of the Filipino community were invited by the Government of the Cook Islands to attend the Presentation of Credentials ceremony.