The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is currently reviewing a petition from labor rights group Migrante International, which asked the agency to set up a consular office in Alberta, Canada to help some 100,000 Filipinos living and working there.
Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a text message that the recommendation has already been received and “submitted for consideration in the 2015 budget.”
“It will be reviewed against the priorities of the DFA and other agencies based on the three pillars, mindful that assistance to nationals and protection of our Filipinos overseas is our priority,” the official said.
But in the meantime, Hernandez said the department is supporting the efforts of its honorary consuls in Calgary and Edmonton “to provide assistance to the Filipino community in Alberta.”
The three pillars of the Foreign Affairs department are: the preservation and enhancement of national security, the promotion and attainment of economic security and the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interest of Filipinos overseas.
Garry Martinez, Migrante chairperson, said their petition for the establishment of a consular mission in Alberta is reasonable since the province is home to Filipinos who are either permanent residents or temporary workers in Canada.
Currently, Alberta is under the jurisdiction of the Philippine consulate in Vancouver, which also covers British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The consulate serves an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Filipinos.
Filipinos are the fourth most visible minority in Alberta and the whole of Canada. From 2007 to 2010, the Philippines is also the top source of immigrants in Alberta.
Martinez said that basic consular and welfare services are inaccessible to a lot of Filipinos in Alberta because of the large number being served by the consulate in Vancouver. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON