DFA opens Consular Office in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

May 8, 2018 (Cathleen Joybel B. de la Cruz)

The Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Office in Ilocos Norte was officially inaugurated on May 8, 2018 with Hon. Frank R. Cimafranca, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Consular Affairs, Hon. Rodolfo C. Fariñas, representative of the 1st district of Ilocos Norte and Majority Floor Leader, Mr. Irving Wu, Director for Operations of Robinsons Land Corporation and San Nicolas Mayor Alfredo P. Valdez, Jr..

DFA CO Ilocos Norte by virtue of Executive Order No. 45 dated October 20, 2017, became the 28th consular office to be established in the country and the 12th mall-based regional consular office under the public-private partnership program of the government and Robinsons Land Corporation.

In his welcome address during the inauguration program, Mayor Valdez thanked the DFA for bringing their Consular Office closer to the Ilocoanos. “We welcome DFA Ilocos Norte with open arms as we do partnership together and availing of passport services in a more convenient and accessible way,” Valdez said.

Hon. Fariñas congratulated DFA headed by Secretary Peter Alan Cayetano and Robinsons Land Corporation with the opening of their consular office in Ilocos Norte as it is a commendable public-private partnership. He said that his first act as Majority Floor Leader was to pass into law Republic Act No. 10928 otherwise known as An Act Extending the Validity of Philippine Passports, Amending for the Purpose Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8239, Otherwise Known As The “Philippine Passport Act of 1996″, And For Other Purposes which was approved on August 2, 2017. He also commended Atty. Hilario P. Valdez, President and CEO of Venvi Group of Companies as he was a visionary and having 365 Plaza where Robinsons Place Ilocos is located made San Nicoals a part of the big metropolis in the Ilocos region.

Robinsons Land Corporation under its public-private partnership with the government opened their mall to house DFA’s consular offices as Ilcoos Norte is the 12th office to be opened among of their 14 malls in the country. “We wish to bring DFA services to the people more conveniently and comfortably as we continue to serve the people under our Lingkod Pinoy Center,” Wu said.

Assistant Secretary Cimafranca in his speech quoted Matthew 5:14-16 as he said that it is the DFA’s guide in serving the people. “We are reaching out to the communities to serve the Philippines and the Filipino people as our ultimate goal is to provide passporting and consular services which are more accessible to the people.” He addressed the people as he said, “We are here to serve you!”

After the inauguration program, there was a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at the consular office located at the second floor of Robinsons Place Ilocos by Hon. Cimafranca, Hon. Fariñas, Mr. Wu, Mayor Valdez, and Mr. Edison Ipac, Consular Officer of DFA Ilocos Norte followed by blessing by Bishop Renato P. Mayugba.

The event was very successful as it was also attended by dignitaries and government agency heads to include Former Consul General Leoncio Cardenas, Jr., Mr. Bayani G. Sibug, Jr. Head, Consular offices Coordinating Center, Ms. Maria Theresa Miranda, Special Projects Manager, RLC, Provincial Board Member Ria Fariñas, CSC Director Nieves T. Duldulao, PSA Head Alejandro Rapacon, Jr. and Vinta Mayor Larissa Foronda.

There was a tour of facilities in their office which had its soft opening on May 2, 2018. Right after the ceremonies, their office served their clients who came for passporting services not only from Ilocos Norte but also from neighboring provinces. – Cathleen Joybel B. de la Cruz