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Philippine Vice Consul defends ground against allegations
May 24, 2013, 11:12 am
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“The Philippine Embassy will always render its services to our nationals regardless of their status in the community…says Vice Consul Sheila Monedero”

Ricky Laxa

Staff Writer

Philippine Vice Consul Sheila Monedero stood her ground against allegations hurled by Filipino Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait expressed via a signature campaign to petition for her immediate recall. Vice Consul Monedero spoke exclusively to The Times and GMA 7 Philippines to air her grievances against the accusations. Below is the excerpt of the exclusive interview with the Times.

TTK: A Filipino community has called you offensive and merciless by sending them out of your office in an incident while they asked you for help regarding an issue of unaccounted birth certificate of their daughter. Kindly give your reaction to the issue?

Vice Consul Monedero: Why am I being blamed for something that happened 17 years back? Why is the Philippine Embassy taking the blame solely of mishandling documents that both the National Statistics Office and Department of Foreign Affairs also have the custody of such documents? The community leader has rehashed this issue for the past two years and my staff in fact has rendered him assistance to reconstruct the missing document and yet we still get the blame. There are procedures and measures that need to be adhered to and followed and that is regardless of your status and connections inside the embassy premises or personnel. Being a lawyer I have been trained and educated to look upon my clients equally without prejudice and disregard their status. In fact, I later found out that the community leader has been enjoying special privileges in the embassy and very well connected with personnel. I was duty-bound to ask the community leader to leave my office since he was displaying anger and resentment and kept going back and forth my presence and office. The community leader should have at least appreciated the assistance we provided him. I have exercised full tolerance on the matter and he should stop marring my name and reputation and move on.

 

TTK: One of the issues raised and questioned by OFWs is your refusal to attend, face them in person and address their issues in addition to denying them with the service due. Is there truth behind these accusations?

Vice Consul Monedero: Since the time I assumed duty on the consular section, there have been tremendous changes to provide service better to our OFW, such as; we are the only Philippine foreign mission to provide release of processed documents on the same day. Since January 2013, I have assumed duties in equivalent of four top officials of the embassy and my staff harbor and strive everyday to ensure that at least 500 consular documents are processed and ready for release on designated time and with eleven staff to look into 150,000 Filipinos. But my staff labor daily even skipping lunch to provide the best we can. For the record, I have never given any instruction to any of my staff that I refuse to see an OFW because I am the Vice Consul, but it is administratively and physically impossible to meet everyone. Each one of my staff reports to me and they are provided with instructions to follow. Each one of them is highly competitive with their work and capable to handle concerns of OFWs. We will always attend to our nationals and will adhere to their requirements but it has to be based on rules applicable regardless of who they are and not based on their status in the community.

TTK: A community leader accused you in print and television that you orchestrated the so called “raid” conducted by local authorities in a gym, for reasons that a rally is currently congregating, Has there been such orders requesting the local authorities from your office?

Vice Consul Monedero: Why am I being blamed for everything bad that happens to every Filipino national in Kuwait? I admit I was the Charges D’ Affaires during that time but I have no knowledge of any raid or search being conducted under my authority. We received a bomb threat and I requested for a police security in front of the embassy to protect the staff. It was also during this time when an international convention was currently being held in the country. Hoax or no hoax, I will never take the chance and jeopardize the security and welfare of the staff of the embassy from such threat and it is my duty bound to execute such request to the authorities. It is also my responsibility towards the host country should the bomb was for real.

TTK: A Filipino Overseas Worker highlighted in an interview that under your tenure as Charges D Affaires that the embassy staff have been very uncooperative and in fact bad-mannered while conducting services at the counters. What actions have you done to address this issue?

Vice Consul Monedero: As soon as I was informed of this issue, I have met my staff and enquired about such incident. I managed to identify the officer based on the description mentioned. Unfortunately the officer is recuperating from a heart surgery and soon as he returns to work, I will get his reaction and should he is proven to have committed such action, adequate solution will be made immediately to resolve the situation. Being courteous from both the OFW and embassy official is vital and right choice of words is essential so that offenses can be avoided.

 

Your message to all Filipino Overseas Workers in Kuwait?

Vice Consul Monedero: The Philippine Embassy is always here to help Filipinos find solutions to their concerns. We will continuously help you and although with very limited manpower. I also hope that OFWs will pose request to our government to provide additional staff so that we can further improve efficiency and service to everyone. The best way we can move forward is to support each other and OFWs to give their share and put our image into constructive light, so that our identity as Filipinos will not be sacrificed and through that we earn respect from other nationals and those we come across every day. Let us help each other and our government and focus on the great things the government has done for us and vice versa, what we have done for the government. Rest assured the Philippine Embassy will render its services to the OFWs without reservations regardless of their status in the community.  

 

Caption:

Philippine Vice Consul Sheila Monedero speaks to The Times on the issues of allegations made by Filipinos in Kuwait.

 

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