Chicago ConGen's unprecedented move: Monthly Dialogue
with the Community
"The third Wednesday of the month will be for the concerns of Filipinos under my consular jurisdiction," declared Generoso Calonge, the newly appointed Consul General in Chicago. This unprecedented move was made known early July when he first made his first public appearance.
The first of his promised "dialogue with the community" took place August 20 at 5:30 pm right after the regular office hours and lasted for about one and half hour. "I was not able to start last month because of my participation in the 9th Ambassador Consuls General Tourism Directors Tour in Manila," he explained to no fewer than two dozen area community leaders and media persons.
Many of those who came took notice of the tense and cool reception of the other consular personnel who at some point aggressively told those who came that they would not be let in if their names are not in their list of those who called in for reservation.
Many claimed that they actually called or confirmed their intention to join the dialogue and this highlighted the persistent and common complain about the poor telecommunication system in the consular office. The problem became the top topic for the afternoon and ConGen Calonge said he makes sure an improvement will be made.
Facilitating the dual citizenship and passport applications and the electoral registration of overseas voters also were taken as the citizens' top concerns. "I believe that with the million Filipino citizens abroad, making sure that they are properly registered can truly influence results in national elections back home," ConGen Calonge added.
After a preponderance of complaints and negative comments, the ConGen also gave his observation on how the relationship can be two ways-- emphasizing that members of the community should be prompt and considerate when they engage the consular staff in activities, citing specific example of a recent appointment where he was made to wait for 30 minutes.
"When non-Filipinos are involved I noticed that we are punctual. We should do the same in our own activities," the ConGen implored.
ConGen Calonge also added that due to the space constraint in the consular offices, he emphasized the importance of confirming one's intention to attend any particular third Wednesday of community dialogue. The hall, he added, can only comfortably accommodate 25-30 persons at a time.
Jun de Guia, Gawad Kalinga area director, suggested that the ConGen should consider other venues for his community dialogue. It was pointed out that another community meeting with the ConGen is scheduled at Rizal Center, 1332 W. Irving Park, Chicago on Wednesday, August 27.•
A Tour in time of storms
By Mariano “Anong” Santos
LEFT Photo: PINOY publisher Anong Santos (R) poses with the Detroit participants including Rebecca Tungol (2nd fr. L) who won the top prize of Western Union raffle of a round trip to the Philippines while Efren Balancio won an I-Pad.
It was 10 years ago that the Ambassadors, Consuls General, Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines was launched. Until last year, Filipino Canadians were part of this annual project but last January, those neighbors up north, ventured into their own, "Winter Escapade."
In its decade of existence, there was only one year that it was called off, thus this year's is the 9th ACGTDT, not the 10th. Without the Canadians, the number of participants dwindled to fewer than 50 per cent of the usual numbers or just 260.
Notwithstanding the declaration of the spin doctors that this year's tour was a success, as a participant, this year's tour should have been mercifully cancelled. This is my third ACGTDT tour and I was also in two of its smaller winter version called, WOW Philippine Tours.
'Season of Creation'
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The "Season of Creation" campaign of the Archdiocese of Manila is well named. Similar campaigns are held in many countries as a celebration of the Earth during the month of September. In the Philippines, it will run on Sept. 1-Oct. 5, with the aim of encouraging Filipino Catholics to be "more proactive in protecting and preserving the environment." Celebrations of the Mass, such as the opening Mass to be officiated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, will be joined with an information campaign on pressing environmental problems throughout the archdiocese's many parishes and communities.
The archdiocese embarked on this laudable campaign last year, when the Season of
Creation stretched out over six weeks, with each Sunday celebrating a specific element of nature: fire, water, air, earth, "halaman" (plants) and "tao" (humans). In an interview then with the Church-run Radio Veritas, Tagle cited the importance of what the archdiocese was trying to do: "I am hopeful that through our environment-centered programs and catechesis, the faithful in our parishes, schools and communities will be moved to action in protecting and caring for nature. I also hope they join us in encouraging others to do the same as stewards of God's creation."
(Read more 'Season of Creation)
Jon Melegrito's Letter from Washington is PINOY's August Editorial
See Above Editorial