Filipinos avail of passport and consular services at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.
PHOTO BY ROBESPIERRE BOLIVAR/CONSULATE GENERAL
MANILA – A team from the Philippine embassy in Tokyo visited Filipinos in Hokkaido, Japan two weeks after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked the island.
The embassy reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday that of the 1,400 Filipinos in the area, a total of 176 expatriates availed of their free passport and other consular services.
Consul General Robespierre Bolivar said a seven-man team from the embassy went to Sapporo City, Hokkaido for the one-day outreach program on September 23.
In cooperation with Philippine Honorary Consul Ken Tobe, the Samahang Pilipino sa Hokkaido (SPH), and the Sapporo International Communication Foundation, the team assisted 159 passport applicants, 16 civil registration and notarial applicants, and other consular queries during the outreach.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said the free consular service “goes a very long way” in helping Filipinos in the recovery effort after the earthquake.
“It was crucial for the embassy to be on the ground as soon as possible after the earthquake to check up on our community in Hokkaido. We are thankful for the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which approved the embassy’s recommendation to provide free consular services to the Filipinos in Hokkaido,” Laurel noted in his report on the outreach.
The embassy team also held a dialogue with SPH officers to take stock of the needs of Filipinos following the quake and to discuss contingency plans to prepare for any future natural disasters.
The SPH said several Filipinos who availed of the outreach service were “very grateful to the Philippine government” for the free consular service.
The earthquake, which struck Hokkaido last September 6, reached the maximum intensity in Japan’s seismic intensity scale and is the most powerful temblor to have affected the island.
Bolivar led the seven-man team, composed of Minister Evangeline Ong Jimenez-Ducrocq and Rolando Salazar, Orlando Mercado, Joseph Tubera, Jahreel Balaoro, and Richard Roldan.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, the embassy assisted 46 Filipino tourists who were in Sapporo City at the time. The tourists were able to safely return to the Philippines two days after the quake. JAR/PNA
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