The inutile ambassador


I really had a hearty laugh upon reading the e-mail from Philippine Ambassador to Italy Virgilio Reyes because he seemed to lecture me, and then bragged of his accomplishments as an envoy.

Reyes was reacting to my column here in The Manila Times last week on his inactions on complaints by Filipinos residing in Italy.

In his e-mail, the ambassador tried to correct my estimate that there are 200,000 Filipinos living and working in Italy. He said according to the Italian Ministry of Interior’s statistics, there are 170,000 registered Filipinos in that country and another 20,000 are undocumented. Therefore, there are only 190,000 Pinoys right now in Italy.

I don’t understand how Reyes arrived at the 20,000 undocumented Pinoys in Italy when they are in hiding to avoid deportation. They have no legal documents to live or work there. So, could it be that Reyes is a psychic too?

Reyes wrote, “Filipinos living and working in Italy have complaints against the embassy which are baseless and untrue”

How the heck would you know Mr. Ambassador about their complaints when you are always out of your office???!!! I went to our embassy there twice and both times you were in a meeting somewhere in Rome, according to one of your staff.

Just in case you don’t know, there is a Task Force OFW-Rome, recording all these complaints against our embassy there.

TF OFW-Rome has been asking for an appointment with you since last year but you reportedly refused to meet the group for reasons, they claim, known only to you.

The multi-awarded Ambassador Reyes, so he claims, said the complaints against the embassy came from one or from only a handful of Pinoys and do not represent the entire population of Filipinos working and living in Italy now.

One wonders, since there is only one or a handful of complainants, Reyes and his entire staff will no longer act on their problem?

Could this be the reason why cases of abused OFWs, particularly domestic helpers, pile up in some of our embassies because their individual misery does not get attended right away?

It would have been wise for Reyes to look into the complaints of the Filipinos in Italy against our embassy there rather than waste his time making excuses and lie about the problems brought before his office.

It behooves DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario to remove Reyes from his post at once. He does not deserve to stay a day more in that embassy.

The guy is inutile!


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  1. @ Yves Boquet, Kaming mga naririto sa Italia ang higit na nakaka-alam ng lahat, limang beses kaming humingi ng dialog kay Reyes, dialog na dadaluhan sana ng mahigit 500 OFW para makinig, subalit wala siyang sagot ng pagbibigay sa hinihingi naming okasyon, Tungkol kay Mr. Erwin Tulfo, ganit ang pangyayari:

    March 24, 2014 nagkaroon ng open forum sa embassy, alertado na sila na darating si Mr. Tulfo dahil March 22 nagkaroon kami ng dinner interview, ng maganap na ang raw ng open forum march 24, nakabantay ang isang tauhan ni reyes sa labas ng embahada, nang makita niya na bumababa sa taxi si Erwin, patakbong umakyat sa upisin a ni reyes ang nasabing tauhan. Nang pumasok na si Erwin sa pinto papuntang social hall, si reyes ay nakita na lumabas sa ibang exit at umalis, hindi siya nag-participate sa forum kung saan naroon si Tulfo. Kaya bago mag komento alamin ang pangyayari… SALAMAT AY MAYROONG ISANG ERWIN TULFO NA KINASANGKAPAN NG DAKILANG LUMIKHA PARA MARINIG ANG MATAGAL NA NAMING HINAING..

    SALAMAT ERWIN, SA MANILATIMES AT tv5 salamat ng buong puso!

  2. I’m OFW here in Italy for 12 years. based from my experience, hindi ako nagtanggal ng middle name sa passport ko. Ang pagtatanggal ng middle name ay hiningi ng Italy para sa mga documents ( for starnger from other country) kz di magkasya kapag piniprint sa identity card (Carta d’identita’), m?edical card (carta sanita) at permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno)) dahil sobrang haba ng pangalan natin. ex Margarita Marquez Dipasupil. I repeat onlzy for documents here in italy. and I believe hindi ito naging malinaw para sa lahat, lalo n sa Phil Embassy dito sa Rome.
    <ang karamihan sa mga officials sa phil embassy ay hindi fluent sa italian language(written and spoken)
    Kz d nman italian document ang Phil passport. bakit nila pinalitan? o may hidden interest? Kz ang mas maganda sana nila ginawa is tatakan kmi sa passport ni si Margarita Marquez Dipasupil At si Margarita Dipasupil (sa italian document) ay iisa

    < e2 is comment ko nman sa bureaucracy policy nila d2.. lahat kelangan bayaran.
    .. phil embassy lng ang dpat is nakared ribbon ang lahat ng direct hire
    .. masusungit yon clerck sa windows mammamia kala mo di kapwa pilipino (pumasa p sila nyan ng civil service!!
    .. i witnessed rin kpag italian n d marunong mag-english yon dumating naku uuwi sila ng galit

    .. ang hirap kumuha ng exit pass pauwi. dami nila hinihingi. pde bang ilimit n lng ang mga documents s passport at permit of stay? kz sa dami ng trabaho namin dito, yon n lng ang pinakamasayang tagpo ang PAG_UWI, papagurin nyo p kmi sa dami ng requirements. At d p pde ang delegates. (May batas b talagang ganito?)

    .. e2 p, kpag holiday sa pinas, closed sila kz pinoy. pero kpag holiday dito closed p rin sila! ganon?? bilangin ang holiday sa pinas + holiday ng italy.

    by the way, i'm not sure ilan ang exact no. of filipino workers here. pero totoo n may tinanggalan ng middle name sa passport ang Phil embassy sa Roma. Ang tanong pano nila ulit maiibalik yon middle name? Magiging masaya ang mga Pilipino dito kung kahit papaano ay maiimproved ang serbisyo ng Phil Embassy sa Roma. lalo n don sa mga natanggalan ng middle name, sna maaksiyunan nila. Sana e2 yong pag-ukulan natin ng pansin,, kung paano matutugunan ang problemang eto. Sa Phil Embassy, alam nyo napakarami nating well educated Filipino dito sa Roma, mga professionals galing pinas. I would suggest n mag-open kyo ng recruitment for volunteers n maaaring makatulong sa embassy natin. More power sa lahat ng OFW. kakayanin natin lahat bastat sama sama!

  3. Sadly, as a resident of Rome, and I may say that I am somehow active with “embassy”‘s outside activity, I am also encountering the same problem with our Embassy.
    Should I say that this problem did not just happen now, but unfortunately, as it is being seen, it gets worst that the people are trying to voice out how they feel.

    1. MIDDLE NAME ISSUE – it is very hard for us, immigrants here, to just omit our middle name. Mainly because there will be a big confusion regarding our documents. WE CANNOT HAVE OUR DOCUMENTS DIFFERENT. If we will be needing any documents from the Philippines, like birth cert., our middle name is included, and yet, with our passports, it will be omitted. Even the Prefettura di Roma, are having a hard time explaining on how should we proceed with our documents.

    2. AMBASSADOR – the ironic comment of 190,000 filipinos are not that important. but what important is for him to communicate with us. I, myself, can say that it is not possible not to find the ambassador in his office. If I am not mistaken, he was send here to be in public service of the filipinos? (correct me if i am wrong)..
    I am also trying to get an appointment, for another reason, since january, and until now, i can’t find the right timing when and where i can find the ambassador.. he may be out, but he can’t always be out for nearly 5 months now? It is not possible that we would always run after him, to where we don’t know where, for a talk. One of his staff advised me to write an email (in which i never do – for a simple reason, if he doesn’t have time for his fellow filipinos, how will he even try to read an email from a normal filipino citizen).
    I believe that being an ambassador does not only have the role of attending events. But, reaching out to your fellowmen, have a talk, at least try to compromise, and make actions to any problem raised.

    3. OTHER PROBLEMS OF EMBASSY – if we are to count it one by one, this page will not be enough. People from the embassy cannot say that there are only few who are trying to attack them, because if we will make a survey outside the embassy, 8 of 10, people will only say negative things.


  4. Mang Karpio on

    Mga Iho @ Iha, tama lahat kayo sa hinala at haka-haka pero sino tayo para maghusga sa kapwa mamayan natin eh kung sarili natin eh hindi malinis ang kapaligiran. Huminahon tayo dahil hindi sapat para gawin ang lahat sa dahas. Unahin muna natin buohin ang samahan ng pnoy hindi buwagin. Tandaan natin ang gawain ng isa ay kabuohan ng lahat.

  5. Yves Boquet on

    “I went to our embassy there twice and both times you were in a meeting somewhere in Rome”.
    It may have been indeed the case, but two missed occasions do not allow you to exaggerate and say that he is NEVER in his office….
    If calling for the resignation of someone is based on two appointments of that person outside his office (an ambassador is not supposed to stay in his office all day long, since he represents his country, and he cannot do that sitting in his chair) and because he says 200.000 when you say 190.000, thats really very flimsy ground for a call to resignation or dismissal.

  6. Good for you erwin in bringing this out in the open. Show the country what he is like & lets see if pnoy can get some answers off him. We all know how good at lying they all are so put all the complaints to pnoy & surely then he has to act. It seems people in power arnt held accountable, we know in the past they wernt but is it getting any better i fear not.

  7. Jose R, Bonifacio on

    No, don’t bring him home, send him to Syria, if not to Nigeria, so he could take advance studies on the Nigeria 409. Nevertheless, most of our ambassadors’ attitude are the same as this Virgilio Reyes. Nakakahiyang ipagmalaking “Mga Ambassadors” ng Pilipinas. Puro bakya…at laging libre sa kainan.

  8. Here’s the conundrum, filipinos are in italy who try to escape and/or alleviate their situation in the philippines, seek help from a philippine embassy when they are in trouble.

    The ambassador is in rome, performing a non service to the filipinos living in rome who are in trouble, so complains are lodged and the person writing an article about the situation is abused by the ambassador via email.

    And yet, the filipinos in rome who has basically fled the philippines are still in trouble,
    since the ambassador is busy writing an email to the author of the expose about the embassy.

    There is an old phrase from a children’s song that defines the situation.

    “round and round it goes, where it stops nobody know”