PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN OMAN HOLDS FLAG-RAISING CEREMONY AND INAUGURATES NEW ASSISTANCE TO NATIONALS (ATN) OFFICE ON PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY
On the early morning of 12 June 2018, the Philippine Embassy in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman held a flag-raising ceremony within Embassy premises to commemorate the 120th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. Present were all the officers and staff of the Embassy, accompanied by Philippine School officials, teachers and staff, officials of the Filipino Social Club (FILCOSOC), and other community members.
The ceremony commenced with the singing of the Philippine national anthem, Lupang Hinirang, as the Philippine flag was raised, followed by the recitation of the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas. Christian and Muslim prayers were recited, then the Independence Day messages of Secretary of Labor Silvestre H. Bello III, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter S. Cayetano, and H.E. President Rodrigo R. Duterte were read, respectively, by Labor Attaché Ponciano M. Ligutom, Second Secretary and Consul Bernadette A. Mendoza, and First Secretary and Consul Arvic V. Arevalo.
H.E. Narciso T. Castañeda, Philippine Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, also addressed the gathering, reflecting that in the 120 years since the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at Kawit, Cavite, the Philippines and the Filipino people have evolved. Our forefathers who fought for our independence would have had different objectives and priorities as their situation would have been very different from ours. They could not have imagined, for example, that the Filipino population would reach a hundred million as, during their time, there could not have been more than three million people within our islands. Nor could they have imagined that within a hundred and twenty years, thousands of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) would be working and living abroad, bringing with it challenges to the Philippine government, which had to develop the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) program to address the issue of distressed OFs.
Ambassador Castañeda then invited the group to accompany him in inaugurating the new ATN Office. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by a brief inspection of the new area, where the ATN Officer can more efficiently process the cases of distressed OFs.
Ambassador Castañeda also announced that, as part of the improvement of services to Filipinos in the Sultanate, the Consular Area and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will be open on the first Friday of the month starting in July, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The services extended will be exclusively for Filipino nationals.
In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, Ambassador Castañeda also led the group to the Sentro Rizal, where he showed to the group the pictures of Filipino heroes and other notables, courtesy of Project Saysay, on display in the Library. END