Wednesday, February 15, 2012

News Update Concern Aired Over Embassies Closure

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos in countries that will be affected by the Philippine government's plan to close down 12 embassies and consulates by the end of 2012 have expressed their disappoint to the government, a migrant workers welfare group said.

Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, said so far, Filipino communities from Palau, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Romania and Caracas have expressed alarm over the impending closure of Philippine embassies and consulates in their respective areas.

Filipino communities in Palau and Barcelona have already circulated petition campaigns, while overseas Filipinos elsewhere are gearing for protest actions.

There are some 5,000 Filipinos in Palau, while Barcelona hosts some 30,000 Filipinos in Spain.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had announced plans to close down at least 12 Philippine embassies and consulates last year, during budget deliberations, as part of the Aquino administration's so-called austerity measures. The plan is to complete the closures by end of 2012. They, however, refused to disclose which embassies or consulates were in danger of closing down," Martinez said.

The group said the plan is "not only is it highly impractical but outright insensitive to the plight of our OFWs."

"We have a shortage of Philippine posts abroad as it is. It is unfortunate that the Aquino administration is assailing embassies and consulates, the very support system of our OFWs abroad, for its austerity measures and at the expense of welfare services for OFWs," Martinez said.