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Five of the 10 Philippine diplomatic posts due for closure this year have already ceased to operate, a senior Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said.
Rafael Seguis, DFA Undersecretary for Administration, said the diplomatic posts that were closed were:
- Philippine Embassy in Caracas in Venezuela;
- Philippine Embassy in Koror, Palau;
- Philippine Embassy in Dublin, Ireland;
- Philippine Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain, and
- Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany.
The operation of these embassies and consulates ended as of July 31. Seguis said the other five diplomatic posts scheduled for closure have already started scaling down operations for their closure on October 31. These are the:
- Philippine Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden;
- Philippine Embassy in Bucharest, Romania;
- Philippine Embassy in Havana, Cuba;
- Philippine Embassy in Helsinki, Finland and
- Philippine Consulate General in Saipan in Northern Mariana Islands.
The closure of the 10 diplomatic missions is part of the DFA’s restructuring plan and austerity measures, Seguis said.
Savings from the closures are estimated at P100 million, which can be allocated to other cash-strapped posts that serve a greater number of Filipinos, he added.
“We are re-aligning our budget where they are most needed like in the Middle East,” Seguis told reporters in an interview on Monday. “We need to maximize our resources and budget.”
The nearest Philippine embassy or consulate will assume jurisdiction and functions of the closed diplomatic missions.
Before the closure of the five diplomatic posts, the Philippines had 94 diplomatic posts abroad, including:
- 67 embassies,
- 23 consulates, and
- four missions to international organizations.
The posts to be closed down were selected based on each of the post’s performance as well as economic and political importance.
Filipino diplomatic personnel displaced by the shut down were absorbed by existing embassies and consulates, mainly in the Middle East, Seguis said. The others, whose tours of duty have expired, were automatically recalled to the Home Office in Manila. - Michaela del Callar/ VVP/ HS, GMA News