The new Philippine consulate in Dubai will further support skills enhancement programmes, including Arabic language and computer lessons for overseas Filipino workers.
Secretary Albert (centre) with Calonge (right) during a meeting with Filipinos in Dubai. ©Gulf News
Dubai is the Philippines' 83rd overseas diplomatic post and will be headed by Generoso Calonge, consul general.
"Dubai has been a hub of economic activity in this region. Our consulate here is a testimony of improving relations between the Philippines and the UAE. It is also an embodiment of our desire to serve the OFWs better."
The ceremony was attended by officials of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomats from Asean countries, Libran Cabactulan, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Filipino labour officials and community leaders.
The new consulate supersedes the Overseas Labour Office (Polo) in Dubai. "Our foreign policy consists of three pillars: promoting national security, economic development and protecting the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers," said Secretary Albert.
She also thanked the UAE government for its support to the Philippines' bid to enter the UN Security Council, and promote Manila's participation in the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
The consulate will serve the estimated 80,000 Filipino workers and dependents in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Consular services for Filipinos in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain used to be provided by the embassy in Abu Dhabi.
"I am pleased to announce to our kababayan (countrymen) in this part of the UAE that they no longer have to go to Abu Dhabi when they need urgent consular services."
The consulate takes over the offices of labour, trade and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. It also has a clinic and classrooms for weekend skills enhancement programmes for OFWs, including Arabic and computer classes.