PANIQUI, Tarlac, Oct. 30 (PIA) -- Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) inaugurated today the country's 36th Consular Office (CO) located at WalterMart Paniqui.
DFA Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said the establishment of CO in Paniqui is the testament of the government's effort to bring public services closer to the people.
"Through the opening of DFA CO Paniqui, local residents and people from nearby areas no longer have to take the trip to other consular offices to get a passport, especially for our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), minimizing their exposure to COVID-19," Dulay explained.
The undersecretary furthered that the new consular office will pave way for the decongestion of nearby DFA COs in the region, namely Angeles City and Pampanga.
"We expect to gradually ramp up the capacity of this CO so it may serve up to 6,000 passport applicants per month once the situation normalizes," Dulay said.
Aside from the issuance of passports, he cited that the DFA CO Paniqui will provide other services including overseas assistance to national cases so as to give updates or help the families of OFWs in distress abroad.
Moreover, it will receive reports of vital events namely reports of birth, marriage, and death, in case overseas Filipinos were unable to process these important papers abroad.
Meanwhile, Dulay expressed his gratitude to WalterMart, Tarlac First District Representative Charlie Cojuangco, and Paniqui Mayor Max Roxas for supporting their office and allowing it to operate despite the many challenges.
"Allow me to take this opportunity to thank Congressman Cojuangco for making this consular office a reality. On another note, Mayor Roxas has been also instrumental to the establishment of DFA CO Paniqui from a regular mobile passporting mission," Dulay said.
"Indeed, the opening of the DFA CO Paniqui is a model of executive, legislative, local government and private sector cooperation. It shows that if the public and private sector get their act together, we can all better serve the Filipino people," he added.
Representing the private sector, WalterMart Senior Vice President & General Manager Jerico Buning noted that the partnership with DFA and the Municipal Government of Paniqui is aligned with their vision and mission of bringing essential products and services closer to Filipino families.
"It is with pride and joy that we found the perfect partners in securing and renewing passports for Tarlaquenos and residents of nearby areas," he stated.
DFA CO Paniqui is the first consular office opened under a Public-Private Partnership between DFA and WalterMart. (CLJD/TJBM-PIA 3)