The Philippine Consulate is looking for a bigger office to make itself into a one-stop centre that can accommodate the growing needs of Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said consul-general Paul Raymund Cortes.
Cortes cited that the consulate has processed around 72,000 requests for passport applications and renewals last year as compared to around 50,000 passport applications in 2013. There are at least 450,000 Filipinos living in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, according to the consulate.
“If we take into the equation all other consular services, the foot traffic is at least 700 to 800 visitors daily. The daily visitors for passport applications alone last year was more than 280 as compared to only 189 back in 2013, the year the consulate moved to the current premises in Al Qusais,” Cortes noted.
The consulate also conducts at least four different events every month, including town hall meetings, musical concerts and photo exhibits, that are attended by several Filipino community leaders and members.
“We need a bigger space to accommodate our kababayans (countrymen),” Cortes said. “They come to us not just for consular services but for other needs as well. Seven additional staff who will conduct administrative work will also beef up the current 46-strong Philippine consulate officers and staff,” he added.
Cortes said they are currently looking for a place that would serve as a Philippine centre in Dubai to put all the Philippine government offices, such as the Philippine Overseas Labour and Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the attachés of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture in one location.
“We also want a place to promote top Philippine agricultural products as well as a venue to showcase our talents and creative pursuits,” he added.
“But, more importantly, we want the Philippine Consulate, not just to be spacious, but also very accessible to everyone,” Cortes underlined. The current location of the Philippine consulate is at least a 15-minute walk from the Al Qusais metro station.
The lease of the Philippine Consulate will expire in August next year. Cortes has not given any specific details yet of where the diplomatic post will transfer but he confirmed that the required budget for the relocation has been sent to Manila for approval.
450,000 Filipinos living in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, according to the consulate
2017 – 72,000
2013 – 50,000
Daily visitors for passport applications
2017 – 280
2013 – 189 back
credit source: Provided by Khaleej Times via msn.com