Archive for Palau
At least 10 Philippine embassies and consulates will be closed down this year because of budgetary constraints, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). However, the DFA has not yet disclosed the list of the foreign diplomatic posts to be shuttered, saying it has yet to inform all the host governments. “We have not disclosed the list yet. We’re now in the process of informing the governments where the affected embassies and consulates are,” said DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez. “What you have been hearing are unofficial reports,” he said. Hernandez said the Philippines currently has 94 embassies and consulates worldwide. He said the closing down of posts is part of the rationalization program of DFA resources. Diplomats affected by the closure will be reassigned to other posts. He said the DFA evaluated the posts based on the three pillars of Philippine foreign policy: enhancing national security, promoting economic diplomacy, protecting and promotion of the rights and welfare of Filipinos overseas. The Palau President Johnson Toribiong has reportedly asked President Benigno Aquino III to reconsider the government’s decision to shut down the Philippine Embassy in his country. Shutting down the embassy in Palau will also affect Filipinos in neighboring countries, such as those working in Micronesia and Marshall Islands because they transact with the embassy in Palau, Toribiong said.
The Palau Consulate offices on Guam and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will remain open through fiscal 2010, said Palau Consul General on Guam Jeff Kenty. In November, Palau Minister of State Sandra Pierantozzi had said the island nation’s consulate offices on Guam and on Saipan would close by the end of last year due to funding shortages. Kenty said the offices never closed, adding the consulate office on Guam requires about $100,000 a year to operate. Guam, as the entry point to the U.S. for Palauan citizens, also is a convenient location for Palauans to seek passport and immigration services, and employment authorization forms. Without the Guam office, Palauans would have to seek consulate services at the Palau Embassy in Washington, D.C.