To strengthen the One-Country Team approach, foster camaraderie and teamwork and improve public service, the Philippine Embassy, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney, the offices of the Philippine attached agencies in Australia and the Philippine Honorary Consuls and Consuls General in Australia and Vanuatu held their Team Philippines-Australia Consultation Meeting on 12 September 2014 at the Philippine Embassy.
During the one-day workshop, First Secretary and Consul Jim Tito San Agustin and Defense and Armed Forces and Attaché Col. Ricardo Santiago updated the honorary consular officials on developments in the politico-security and defense cooperation relations between the Philippines and Australia.
The meeting particularly focused on the promotion of economic diplomacy. Minister and Consul General Nina Cainglet presented a review and follow-up action needed from the official visits of Ambassador Belen F. Anota to Hobart, Brisbane, Melbourne and Darwin conducted in 2013 -2014. For education and culture, she discussed the expanded New Colombo Plan which the Philippines would be a part of in 2015 and the proposed 2015 visit to Australia of the world-renowned Loboc Children’s Choir.
Philippine Trade and Investment Representative Emmanuel Ang and Tourism Representative Consuelo Jones briefed the meeting on the economic gains of the Philippines and what could be done to sustain them further in 2015.
For trade and investments, the priority industries identified were the food processing, auto parts, homeware and furniture, information technology and business process outsourcing, and ship building.
With tourism arrivals to the Philippines from Australia increasing through the years, the Department of Tourism will further intensity the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” Australia is expected to remain a viable destination for both Australians and Filipino balikbayans in 2015.
For consular relations and assistance to nationals, Labor Attaché Atty. Rodolfo Sabulao briefed the honorary consular officials on how they can assist OFWs in cases of unfair dismissal. He also discussed the various services that the Office of the Labor Attaché offers to OFWs. Second Secretary and Consul Grace Bulos gave pointers on consular matters such as how to assist in improving mobile services, the harmonization of consular forms, and updates on rules and regulations on various consular services.