Closure of 10 PHL diplomatic missions will have “minimal effects” on services in areas affected

March 9, 2012 12:43 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, March 8 — The forthcoming closure of 10 foreign missions of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will have “minimal effects” on services in the areas concerned, since their functions will be taken over by honorary consuls who will be appointed.

DFA also said embassies and consulates with jurisdictions in the missions to be closed will take over the functions such as consular services. For example, Barcelona will be handled by the embassy in Madrid.

Consular services in the affected missions shall be available to the public up to the last day of their operations. After that, the honorary consuls or nearby embassies/consulates will take over.

This was the assurance of the DFA in response to apprehensions over the Philippine Government’s decision to close embassies in Koror (Palau), Caracas (Venezuela) Dublin (Ireland), Stockholm (Sweden) Havana (Cuba), Bucharest (Romania) and Helsinki (Finland), as well as consulates-general in Barcelona, Frankfurt, and Saipan.

It is not known when the closures are effective.

But DFA earlier announced that host governments affected and their respective missions in Manila have been informed. Filipino communities in the areas were also notified of the plans.

According to the DFA, the shutdown “was primarily due to the need to maximize resources and to augment embassies and consulates where there are more Filipinos, especially in the Middle East.”

The DFA is not indicating how much money is going to be saved from the shutdown, but government is aiming for a lean and efficient bureaucracy.

Other considerations for the closure include the area’s potentials for trade, investment and tourism. (PNA)

DCT/RSV/GJB

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