OFW-Centered Diplomacy

Manila Bulletin, March 10, 2009 | Go to article overview

OFW-Centered Diplomacy


DIPLOMATIC mission anywhere in the world is primarily tasked to protect the interests of the state it represents as well as those of its citizens.To this end, every embassy or consulate is provided with the means and the tools to carry out its objective in proportion to the financial capacity and the international standing of the home government.With the emergence of the OFW phenomenon, whereby communities of overseas Filipino workers are found in many parts of the world, there is need to refocus and redirect the priorities of Philippine diplomacy.Since the nation owes so much to OFWs, who are regarded as our "modern heroes" for their substantial contribution to the economy, the diplomatic and consular services of the Department of Foreign Affairs in countries with OFW communities should be repositioned and geared towards actively helping them.This requires a radical shift in paradigm, a redefinition of what diplomacy should be.Before the OFWs grew in large numbers in many countries, our embassies and consulates would normally attend to requests for replacements of lost passports, visa applications of Filipinos who had given up their Philippine citizenship, maintaining links with Filipino communities through the celebration of the Independence Day and providing documentation for the bodies of Filipinos to be repatriated. …

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