FMA Holds Annual Consular Services for the Filipino Community

By: Aleth Flores

The Consular Outreach Service, chaired by Dodge and Aleth Flores, FMA past president and current Auditor, respectively, started with a dinner on Friday evening, August 15, 2014, at Uptown at City Walk Club Room, welcoming seven staff from the Philippine Consulate of Chicago headed by Vice Consul Ricarte Abejuela III.  Everyone enjoyed a relaxing evening of wine and hors d’oeuvres, delicious Filipino food, and good camaraderie. There was a very informative question and answer forum with the vice consul as different leaders of the community asked questions of interest in regards to the economic and social situations in the Philippines.  The evening ended with so much fun and excitement as photo shoots took place.

The Consular services were held at the Philippine Center of Minnesota (PCM) on Saturday, August 16, 2014.  More than 34 volunteers were at the PCM promptly at 7am to set up and get ready for the big crowd expected at 8am when doors opened.  Volunteers were assigned at the parking lots, registration tables, waiting areas, document verifications, notarizations, copiers and pictures, food, kitchen, clean up, etc.  Serviced for the day were 211 passport renewals, 33 dual citizenships, and 57 special powers of attorney and other services.  The last customer serviced was around 9pm.  Overall, the event was very successful and organized, thanks to Dodge Flores and all the volunteers.

The Consular service outreach was also a good opportunity for the Filipino community to see PCM.  There were people from all over the Twin Cities as well as neighboring states who have not been to the center.  FMA officers who were also PCM board members talked about PCM and its journey while people were waiting.  They were encouraged to use the facility for their gatherings and events.  Inspired by the pleas and the appeal of the center,  some people gave their donations and pledges to PCM!

Again, another tiring but very rewarding event for FMA and its volunteers had taken place!