Filipinos in the island-nation of Palau are asking President Benigno Aquino III to reconsider the Philippine government’s decision to close down the embassy there.
The Filipino Community in Palau (TFCP) said they would like Aquino to read their petition, which noted that the embassy is their second home.
Nearly 200 Filipinos there have signed the letter so far.
The TFCP said that the news is worrying Filipinos in the area, especially after the Philippine Embassy wrote to the Palau Ministry of State last week, saying that it is closing down due to budgetary constraints.
TFCP business manager Leo Lacambra said the Philippine government should maintain a consulate office in the area, or at least provide the 5,000 Filipinos in Palau with an explanation as to how the government will be able to serve them.
He added that Philippine government calls the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) the country’s “new heroes,” then they should not take away their right to be protected from abuses.
The petition was addressed to the Philippine Senate, which only acknowledged that the letter was received.
Last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed its plan to close 12 posts abroad by the end of 2012.
During the Senate finance committee hearing on October 2011, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario said they had sent a memorandum to Aquino, recommending “the closure of 12 posts over two years.”
Drilon, however, suggested that they close by 2012 instead of 2013 so that the department can “utilize the budget for these 12 embassies and consulates to better augment our presence (abroad).”
“We would like to rationalize the use of limited funds and at best we can avail of the use of these funds and be able to deliver quality service in all aspects related to our foreign policy,” said Del Rosario, who agreed with Drilon’s suggestion.
The Foreign Affairs secretary refused to name these 12 posts saying they’re waiting for the president “to act on it,” but noted that they chose the posts based on performance.
GMA News Online sought the DFA for update on the matter, but spokesperson Raul Hernandez replied via text message that they will make the announcement “in due time.” - Bernadette Carreon, Rose-An Jessica Dioquino, VVP, GMA News