02/05/2014: PHILIPPINE CONSULATE-ON-WHEELS REACHES OUT TO KABABAYANS IN THE "CITY OF DESTINY"
L: The Filipino Community Alliance of Tacoma’s pre-processing area for applicants; R: Passport applicants wait for their turn.
The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco deployed a seven-person team to Washington State’s “City of Destiny”, Tacoma, to conduct a three-day consular outreach from April 25-27. Tacoma, known as the “City of Destiny” because it hosted both the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 19th century and Washington State’s largest international port, boasts of a diverse population, 1.3 percent of which are Filipinos.
The outreach, which was hosted by the Filipino Community Alliance of Tacoma and Pinoy Reporter in the city’s Asia-Pacific Cultural Center, was accessed by over 700 people. The team, headed by Consul Reichel Quiñones, reported that they had processed over 300 passport applications, 80 legal documents, 50 civil registry documents, and 110 applications for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship.
Consul Reichel Quiñones (6R) and the Consulate team with volunteers from the Filipino Community Alliance of Tacoma, led by Ms. Virgie Hilyer (7R) and Ms. Carina Pinch (6L), the coordinators.
“Malaking tulong po ang nagawa nitong consular outreach,” one applicant said, after having processed the renewal of his passport. “Ang layo po kasi ng San Francisco. Kahit papaano, nakatipid din kami dahil hindi na naming kinailangan bumiyahe doon para mag-renew ng passport.”
Acting Head of Post, Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalon, thanked the Filipino Community Alliance of Tacoma (FCAT) and Pinoy Reporter, which have hosted these outreaches for several years.
“We laud the sense of civic duty and love of country exhibited by our community partners such as the Filipino Community Alliance of Tacoma and Pinoy Reporter,” Deputy Consul General Ascalon said. “Their hard work on behalf of the Consulate-on-Wheels program has enabled us to bring our services closer to our kababayans, and make them more accessible to those who live far away from our main office in San Francisco.
“The Consulate-on-Wheels/Wings is a regular program of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, in partnership with the local communities in the areas under our jurisdiction,” Deputy Consul General Ascalon explained. “Since we serve such a large area, our community partners have proved invaluable in making our services more accessible to our clients.
“Over the years, our partners have been able to work with us in confirming and finalizing our outreach schedules a year in advance, which is invaluable in helping our kababayans plan their appointments with the consular outreach teams. We appreciate that they have been able to accommodate our request to hold these outreaches during the weekends, so that our working kababayans can access our services without having to take leave from work.”
Due to the large number of Filipinos working and living in Washington State and surrounding areas, the Consulate holds at least 7 outreaches there a year – four in Seattle, three in Tacoma. Another outreach will be held in a month’s time in Oregon, in the cities of Roseburg (May 24) and Portland (May 25).
The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, through its COW Program, conducts regular annual outreaches to various locations in the ten states under its jurisdiction: Alaska, Northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Northern Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
For more information on upcoming Consulate-on-Wheels outreaches, or to search for a COW coming to your area, visit http://www.philippinessanfrancisco.org/philippines-sf/consular-outreach-sf/ or follow the Consulate’s Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/PCGSF.