True public service

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Monday, March 24, 2014


ONE thing I learned only a few days ago is that the diplomatic corps of our consulate in New York truly takes care of our Filipino citizens and holds very warm relationship with them.

The consulate, which is headed by a deputy consul general, initiated just a couple of weeks ago an outreach program at St. Mary’s Church of the Resurrection Parish in Jersey City. Passports were renewed and dual citizenship certificates were issued to
interested ones.

This is the first time I heard of this kind of assistance extended to Filipino citizens residing in a consular area. I am, of course, familiar with our New York city consulate since I have visited it a number of times before.

It seems that the deputy consul general struck an agreement with the Catholic Action Group in New Jersey and, last March 8, the group sponsored the outreach project, so that even my wife, long a resident there, got dual citizenship certificate.

But what was most striking, according to Mrs. Roperos, is the fact that the consulate staff went out of their way to accommodate them.

The consular assistants Cris Abril, Josef Macua, Tito Ringo Art Romua and Mark Cruz showed extra effort to help them in the preparation of the papers needed to support the certificates. Mrs. Mabel Castanarez acted as the collection officer of the group.

It was a unique experience for those used to government service in the Philippines.

My point is that when I learned about the seemingly unusual attitude of a group of our public workers in a place far from home, I wondered where and what sort of motivation they received.

My wife said that the Filipinos who received the kind of treatment from the diplomatic group were effusive with their gratefulness for the attention they unexpectedly got from our country’s workers abroad who went out of their way to add personal warmth to their service.

I do not know how long Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron has worked in government, and how long has he been in the foreign service. But if his kind of public performance in New York is the same wherever he has been assigned, then he must have been an exemplary civil servant.

Another Filipino who reportedly brings together Filipino Jersey City residents is Deacon Cesar Sarmiento of the St. Mary’s Church of the Resurrection.

But definitely, hearing tales like this of our people in foreign lands in possession of a measure of power and influence but exercising this not to accumulate or consolidate more power or influence for their personal advantage makes the warmth of our humanity and the strength of our collective morale glow even more, and glowing stronger as far as our individual worth is concern.

Indeed, in our concept of public service today, it is more a matter of what is in it for me than what I can offer and share with you.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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