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31/08/2012: Philippine Embassy’s Participation in Labor Rights Week is Highlighted at Orlando Consular Outreach

31 August 2012, Washington, D.C. For the first time ever, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. participated in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (US DOL) commemoration of Labor Rights Week held annually in the run up to U.S. Labor Day, which is celebrated on 03 September 2012.  The Embassy chose to launch the week’s celebration during its consular outreach mission in Orlando, Florida, on 25-26 August 2012, where it set up a booth and displayed and gave out reading materials and pamphlets from the US DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and Occupational Safety and Health Administration to the consular clients.

Along with handouts from the US DOL, the Embassy’s Consular team also distributed copies of the Labor Day message of Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.  The Embassy’s Philippine Overseas Labor Office provided the streamer conveying the theme of the celebration, “Promoting Labor Rights is Everyone’s Responsibility”.  Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla and Welfare Officer Saul de Vries were likewise on hand to address the labor concerns of the Filipino community and campaign for membership in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Welfare Officer Saul de Vries (left) and Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla (right) attend to a Filipino inquiring on labor matters.

Consular clients wait for their turn during the Consular Outreach Mission in Orlando, held at the Sheraton Downtown Orlando.

The Embassy’s involvement in the week-long celebration is an offshoot of its recent designation as a Partner Embassy by the US DOL after the signing of partnership agreements with them in June.  The other partner embassies to date are Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.  Of the 10 countries, the Philippines is the only Asian country to have signed partnership agreements with the US DOL.

The Consular team was able to assist 194 passport renewal applicants and 64 applicants for various other services, such as Reports of Birth, Reports of Marriage, lost passports, authentication, and SPAs.  91 former Filipinos reacquired Philippine citizenship and 200 Filipinos registered as Overseas Absentee Voters.  The weekend consular outreach also generated 238 letters of support for the SAVE Act bill.

Consular Assistant Laurence Sumando accepts and processes the applications, while Collecting Officer Renell Martinez collects the service fees.

(L-R) Consular Assistants Wennie Berganio and Ma. Lyra Ocampo capture the biometrics of passport applicants, while OAV PTP Tereso Martinez registers a Filipino Overseas Absentee Voter.

Consul Arlene Magno addresses the new dual citizens after administering their Oath of Allegiance.

The Consular team was ably supported and assisted by the leaders of the Council for Filipino-American Organizations, Central Florida (CFAO), headed by Ms. Leilani Fontanilla.  The Council has been the Embassy’s active and reliable partner organization in the conduct of consular outreach missions in Florida for the past seven years now.

Consul Arlene Magno introduces the members of her Consular team to the leaders of the Council for Filipino-American Organizations.

Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla (4L) and Consul Arlene Magno (5L) pose with CFAO president Leilani Fontanilla (standing 2L) and the leaders who helped out during the Consular outreach.

The team, headed by Consul Arlene Magno, will next travel to Havelock, North Carolina and the Cayman Islands for scheduled outreaches in September.