In 2008, the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago continued to provide consular services and assistance to Filipinos in the Midwest, USA.
Almost six years since she visited the City of Chicago in February 2002, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo returned for a brief one-day visit on 11 November 2008 and the Consulate took care of the preparation for the Presidential Visit, with support from the Offices of the Philippine Trade Representative and the Department of Tourism in Chicago.
In preparation for the 2010 National Elections and the registration of Filipinos abroad from 01 February to 31 August 2009, the Consulate participated in the Overseas Absentee Voting Continuing Registration Training Program in San Francisco, sponsored by the COMELEC and the DFA Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat, and hosted by the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco.
The Consulate has continued to implement the provisions of Republic Act No. 9225 or the Dual Citizenship Law that allows former natural born Filipino citizens to reacquire their Philippine citizenship.
The Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Chicago (PTIC)-Chicago continued, together with the Consulate, its aggressive promotion of Philippine exports and US Midwest investments while further strengthening its business promotion infrastructure and commercial intelligence activities on priority sectors.
In coordination with the Philippine Department of Tourism-Chicago (PDOTCHI), the Consulate continued to promote the Philippines as a tourist destination. Among the notable tourist promotion activities are the WOW Philippines Tour and the 4th Ambassador’s, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour which was participated in by a number of Filipino Americans from the Midwest and the other states in the U.S.
The Consulate vigorously continued its campaign with Filipino American community leaders and U.S. lawmakers within its jurisdiction for the passage of the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill (S1315).
In the Assistance to Filipino Nationals (ATN), the Consulate rendered assistance to one hundred fifty five (155) Filipino nationals involved in various cases. The Consulate has likewise answered e-mail and telephone queries on consular and ATN services such as free legal assistance and police and immigration assistance, etc. During the year, the Consulate assisted 15 medical missions, coordinated with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) on assistance to be given to medical mission groups, and set up informal meetings with medical mission leaders to discuss matters related to the medical missions in the Philippines.
Pursuant to the President’s directive to Philippine Foreign Service Posts to open disaster relief donation accounts related to the victims in the Philippine of Typhoon Frank, the Consulate issued a press release to the Fil-Am community through the Fil-Am media in the Midwest informing them of the guidelines on sending cash donation to the victims. The total amount of US$1,050.00 was sent to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila. ACondolence Book for the victims of Typhoon Frank and the collateral victims of the sunken MV Princess of the Stars was also opened for signing by the public. The letters of condolence from the Governor of the State of Illinois and the Mayor of Chicago City were also sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The highlights of the Consulate’s cultural activities were the Flores de Mayo Exhibit featuring a Filipino designer at the Consulate’s Social Hall, the Chicago City Mayor’s Reception for the Filipino American Community on the occasion of Philippine Independence Day celebration in June 2008, and the Philippine Independence Day celebrations - a two-week celebration by various Filipino American organizations. The Consulate also led the Filipino American community in the Flag Raising at the Daley Plaza (in front of the Chicago City Hall) and hosted a Philippine Independence Day Reception for members of the Chicago Consular Corps and government officials.
The Consulate’s consular officials led by the Consul General continued to visit the offices of U.S. lawmakers to invite their membership to the Philippine-U.S. Friendship Caucus.
To better serve the Filipinos in the Midwest, the Consulate conducted during the year community outreach services in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota. Passport, visa, legal and other consular services were extended to the Filipinos during the outreach services in the said states.
In 2008, the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Detroit has started serving the Filipinos in the State of Michigan.