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Alba Iulia
Thursday, August 5, 2021

Philippine Consulate General opens permanent office in Melbourne CBD

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Jason Cordi
Editor-in-Chief, The Philippine Times

After over three decades, the Philippine Consulate General has established its full career consular office in a permanent office within the city of Melbourne. 

The launch and office blessing were held on 17 April 2021 and attended by almost 100 community leaders and representatives from various organisations in the Filipino-Australian community in Victoria. 

Philippine Ambassador Ma. Hellen Dela Vega flew in from Canberra to grace the occasion. Maria Vamvakinou, Federal Member of Parliament for Calwell, and Andrew Cumpston, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) State Office for Victoria, attended as guests of honour.

The Consulate office occupies the entire 10th floor of 257 Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD, covering 660-square metre space. The office blessing was officiated by Monsignor Joselito Asis, Melbourne’s Episcopal Vicar for Catholic Migrants and Refugees.

The Consulate covers the states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in its consular jurisdiction.

Promise fulfilled

Ambassador De La Vega shared how her promise two years ago to the community regarding the establishment of a much-needed full-fledged consulate in Melbourne has been fulfilled.

Ambassador De La Vega spoke of the significance of the occasion, in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Australia.

She also stated that the establishment of the office in Melbourne is “a reflection of the importance that the Philippine Government places on our Comprehensive Partnership with Australia.”

The Ambassador thanked the Australian government for welcoming and facilitating the re-opening of the consulate, stating such as a “testament to the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries.”

Ambassador De La Vega noted the arrival of President Manuel Quezon and Gen. Douglas McArthur who, in 1942, sought refuge in Melbourne at the start of the Second World War. 

Paying tribute to three decades of Consular volunteers

Ambassador De La Vega paid tribute to the Philippine Honorary Consular officers who delivered consular services to Filipinos in Victoria, namely Rick Henson, Michael MacDonald, Maina Walkley, Raul Hernandez, Virginia Kalong and Felix Pintado. 

Pintado was given a Certificate of Merit issued by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs award for his involvement in assisting with the transition and his years of service from 2014 to 2020.

Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo gave a warm welcome to all who attended, giving a special mention to those leaders of Filipino regional communities in such areas as Gippsland, Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton, Bendigo and Warrnambool. She added, “We may have different interests and priorities but I hope we can have more platforms to collaborate and enjoy together.”

Both MP Vamvakinou and Director Cumpston of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Victoria, congratulated everyone on the establishment of the Consulate in Melbourne, noting it as a symbol of the growing ties between the two nations.

‘The Art of Joel Magpayo’ Exhibit opened

During the launch, the official opening of an Art Exhibit featuring the paintings of the late Joel Magpayo was also held. The award-winning Filipino painter, who passed away in November 2020, was honoured by ConGen Salcedo in her opening remarks. Guests met the Magpayo family and saw the colourful and cultural representations of his work over the years on display across the Consulate floor.

The exhibition consists of 23 artworks selected from decades of the artist’s devotion to painting. His wife Lynda assisted with the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Consulate opening.

Joel Magpayo Jr., the artist’s oldest son, spoke for the family and thanked the Consulate and the Filipino community for the honour bestowed on his father and their patronage of Filipino art.

New website launched

The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne has launched its website for the convenience of Filipinos seeking consular services in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. 

The new website was announced by Deputy Consul General Anthony Mandap. 

The launch of the website coincides with the introduction of a booking system, allowing people to book an appointment for a Consular service. Services that can be booked include Passport (New/Renewal), NBI Fingerprinting, SPA/Notarials, Civil Registry (Report of Birth / Marriage) and VISA.

The website provides an organised process to assist Filipinos in their consular needs. Information regarding fees and requirements are available for topics such as passports, dual citizenship, report of birth, report of marriage, and report of death, among others.

The website’s address is: https://melbournepcg.dfa.gov.ph

The consulate can be also contacted on 8375 9646 or email melbourne.pcg@dfa.gov.ph.

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