Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. held a dialogue with the Filipino communities in Milan and all regions of Northern Italy, the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs to do so since the establishment of the Philippine Consulate General in Milan in 1995.
More than 400 overseas Filipinos gathered at the renowned Centro Ambrosiano in Milan on 20 January 2017 to hear the Secretary deliver the message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the more than 100,000 overseas Filipinos in Milan and Northern Italy. Secretary Yasay also pledged better and more efficient services from the Department of Foreign Affairs and its Foreign Service Posts to all overseas Filipinos.
Consul General Marichu Mauro expressed the deep appreciation of the Filipino communities for the Secretary’s visit.
“The Filipinos in Milan and Northern Italy are some of the most hardworking Filipino workers in the world. This is a community that is well-loved, respected and adored by the government and people of Italy,” the Consul General said during her welcome remarks.
In his address, Secretary Yasay conveyed the gratitude of President Duterte to overseas Filipinos for supporting him during the last elections. The Secretary went on to praise overseas Filipinos for their contribution to the Philippine economy in the form of remittances, calling them “unsung heroes” who deserved better and more efficient services from government. He said the centerpiece of the Duterte Administration was to “make life easier for everyone.” Thus, the Secretary assured the Filipinos that part of his marching orders to the Department of Foreign Affairs was to streamline passport applications and do away with bureaucratic processes.
Secretary Yasay also informed the audience that a bill was pending in the Philippine Congress, seeking to lengthen the validity period of Philippine passports from five to ten years, and to reduce passport fees. The Secretary remarked that the real solution to overseas migration was to create job opportunities in the Philippines so that traveling abroad was a matter of choice and not of necessity. He concluded his address by appealing to overseas Filipinos to be proud of their national identity and heritage.
After the dialogue, overseas Filipinos in attendance had a photo opportunity with Secretary Yasay and his spouse, Madame Cecile Yasay, and Consulate officials.