PH Embassies in Sweden and Finland risk closure

The Filipino community in the CNMI could lose its Philippine Consulate General as the office is reportedly among the 12 embassies and consulates that the Department of Foreign Affairs plans to close down by the end of 2012 to “rationalize” the agency’s resources.

Although the Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario declined to identify the 12 posts pending the president’s approval, Malaya columnist Rey O. Arcilla on Tuesday identified the posts as  embassies in Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Sweden, as well as the consulate generals Barcelona, Frankfurt, Saipan, and Palau as well asRecent Philippine media reports state that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario had disclosed at a Senate Finance Committee hearing a memorandum that he sent to President Benigno Aquino III outlining his recommendation to close the posts.

A “Rationalization of Foreign Service Posts” circular signed by Undersecretary Rafael Seguis directs 59 posts to justify their existence based on the three pillars of Philippine foreign policy: national security, economic security, and protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of Filipinos overseas.

Closing down the 12 posts by 2012 would translate to savings of about P100 million to P150 million ($2.3 million to $3.5 million) to the Philippine government, said Sen. Franklin Drilon, Senate Finance Committee chair.

According to Drilon, the Philippines may be retaining far too many of these foreign posts. At present, the Philippines has some 94 embassies and consulates worldwide.

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