Thursday, 06 October 2011
DFA to shut down 12 embassies, consulates -- The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario today revealed that the department is planning to shut down 12 Philippine embassies and consulates as part of its rationalization program.
Del Rosario disclosed the plan during the deliberation of the DFA's P10.988 billion proposed budget for 2012 conducted by the Senate finance committee.
The DFA chief said that the first six embassies and consulates will be closed in the first six months of 2013. The remaining six will be shut down on the second half of the same year, he said.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, committee chairman, meanwhile told Del Rosario that the DFA should instead complete the closure of the 12 posts before the end of 2012.
"Secretary Del Rosario agreed that there is indeed basis to rationalize and has agreed to close 12 embassies between now and 2013 but we asked him to accelerate this so that the 12 foreign posts can be closed by the end of 2012," Drilon told the media after passage of the DFA budget at the committee level.
Del Rosario agreed to consider the suggestion of Drilon to finish the closure of 12 posts by end of 2012 that would mean up to P150 million savings for the DFA.
Drilon said the savings that the DFA will incur from the rationalization program will not be returned to the treasury, but will be distributed to the embassies that need additional funds.
The senator also said that the DFA career officers and staff who will be affected by the closure of the 12 posts will be deployed in the embassies and consulates of the countries where there are big overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) population.
"We want to make it clear that the intention of the committee is not retrenchment of our employees in the DFA. Our intention is to strengthen and put money in our embassies where there were many OFWs," Drilon said.
Del Rosario refused to name countries where embassies and consulates will be closed down, but said that factors to be considered for the closure are the amount of trade, investment and tourism that the Philippines can generate as well as number of Filipinos that has to be served by the affected posts.
The Philippines has 67 embassies, 23 consulates and four missions throughout the world, serving more than 11 million Filipinos abroad.
Source: The Philippine Star, 04 October 2011