PHL Embassy's Mobile Consular Services continue to benefit more than 13,000 Filipinos in New Zealand, Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji and Tonga
Now on its fourth year, the Philippine Embassy’s first ever mobile consular services continue to effectively and efficiently serve Filipino communities throughout New Zealand and countries in the Pacific Islands under its jurisdiction. Called “The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand: Serving with a Smile, Going the Extra Mile and Reaching Beyond Our Grasp” mobile consular services, direct and on site consular missions started when Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez assumed her post in September 2011. Since then, these outreach missions continue to concretely manifest the priority and importance being given by the Philippine Government to the welfare and well-being of global Filipinos. To date, the Philippine Embassy has conducted a total of thirty seven (37) mobile consular missions which brought immense benefits to 13,185 Filipinos in key places in the North and South Islands of New Zealand and in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Cook Islands. They availed of much needed services extended to 10,657 e-passport applicants, 342 notarial documentation, 266 NBI clearances, 271 reports of birth, 158 reports of marriage, 328 dual citizenship and 1,163 overseas voting registrants. To date, the Philippine Embassy’s mobile consular services have been extended to 32.06% of the total number of 41,129 Filipinos in New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands.
In 2014, the Philippine Embassy mobile consular team reached out to Filipinos in Kerikeri in January, Christchurch in February, Auckland in March, Invercargill in May, Auckland in July, Samoa, Christchurch and Cook Islands in September, Taranaki in October and Ashburton in December. In 2013, the Philippine Embassy mobile consular team served Filipinos in Taupo in January, Queenstown in April, Auckland in May, Oamaru in August, Fiji in September, Rotorua and Fiji in October, Tonga in November and Greymouth in December. In 2012, the mobile consular services were held in Christchurch and Auckland in January, Rotorua and Fiji in April, Auckland in May, Dunedin in August, Cook Islands, Whangarei and Auckland in September, Samoa and Auckland in November and Christchurch in December. In 2011, mobile consular services started for the first time in Hamilton in October, Ashburton, Invercargill and Auckland in November and Auckland and Tonga in December. In all of the cities and areas visited by the Philippine Embassy, meetings and coordination were made with the Philippine Consulate General in Auckland, the Philippine Consulates in Christchurch and Fiji, the respective Filipino community organizations and groups in the North and South Islands of New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries. “Their warm hospitality, invaluable support and exemplary cooperation have contributed immensely to a highly successful, productive and meaningful stay and service of the Embassy’s mobile consular team in the various cities in New Zealand and in Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands and Samoa. Indeed, they are shining examples of the vital partnership between the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino communities in carrying out our GOD-given mission for our beloved country and people,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.
Wherever the mobile consular services are rendered, the Filipino community reiterated their deep gratitude to the Philippine Government through the Philippine Embassy for rendering the much needed and sought after consular services right where they are residing and working as these saved them a considerable amount of money, time, day off and resources. It would have been extremely costly, inconvenient and difficult for all of them to go all the way to Wellington to avail of consular services. “Excellent, accessible and fast service, helpful, happy to serve and courteous staff, friendly, well-organized system, and keep up the good work” were among the written feedback given by the Filipinos. The Philippine Embassy has always shared with the Filipino community the Philippine Government’s priority and concern for their welfare and well-being as the third major pillar of Philippine foreign policy. “In recognition of the vital roles and crucial contributions of the global Filipinos to nation-building in the Philippines and New Zealand, the Philippine Embassy will continue to reach out to them through our mobile consular services and dialogue, demonstrate its caring and sharing spirit and bring the Embassy’s services closer to more than 41,000 Filipinos around New Zealand and other Pacific island Countries,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.
In bringing its services on site and directly to the Filipino communities, Ambassador Benavidez was also able to meet the Filipinos and thank them for their spirit of “bayanihan” (volunteerism and coming together to help), invaluable assistance and continuing cooperation, reiterate deep appreciation for the outpouring of support, solidarity and sympathy for those affected by natural disasters in the Philippines, updated them on the unprecedented economic upgrades, positive international ratings and outstanding reputation of the Philippines now a favourite destination for investments and business and among the best performers in the ASEAN region, the reform agenda and good governance programmes of President Benigno S. Aquino III, enjoined them to participate in nation building through the overseas absentee voting process and dual citizenship acquisition, briefed them on the necessity of setting up a disaster preparedness and emergency response plan in coordination with the local authorities and agencies and reiterated the deep appreciation and recognition of New Zealand’s government and people for their skills, talents, sacrificial work ethics and services and ability to integrate themselves well with local communities throughout the country. Ambassador Benavidez also took advantage of the Philippine Embassy mobile consular missions and the Team’s presence in each city by calling on the Mayor, Members of Parliament, officers of the Migrant Centres, Multicultural Councils, Ethnic Affairs Offices, Rural Women’s organization and other groups to broaden networking, exchange insights and information about the Philippines and personally hear from them their feedback and views about the situation and contributions of the Filipino communities. She has also continued to engage with local chambers of commerce, businessmen, companies and relevant agencies and institutions to promote greater trade, investment, business, tourism and people to people ties between the Philippines, New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries under the Philippine Embassy’s jurisdiction.
To ensure that thousands more Filipinos are reached by the mobile consular services, the Philippine Embassy is set to go to Tokoroa, Dunedin, Auckland, Christchurch, Gisborne and other parts of the North and South Islands in 2015. Announcements on the dates, venue and other relevant details about the mobile consular services are posted at the Embassy’s website at wwww.philembassy.org.nz and facebook. Inquiries and appointments can also be made through the Philippine Embassy at telephone numbers (+644) 8903741/3742/3744 or email address email@example.com