Ambassador Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro is joined by the Philippine Embassy officers and staff during the blessing of the newly renovated Consular Section officiated by Fr. Leo Balaguer of the Philippine Catholic Mission
13 November 2020, Paris – The newly renovated consular office of the Philippine Embassy was inaugurated today by H.E. Philippine Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro with the Philippine Chaplain in Paris, Father Leo Balaguer, who graced the event for an office blessing.
Six months after the torrential rains caused severe water damage to its recently renovated basement, the Embassy has finally been able to complete the second renovation of its consular section.
Apart from destroying equipment, furniture and other fixtures, the heavy rains and flooding caused by the storm of the 9th of May had rendered the area unsafe for the public and consular personnel alike, due to the damaged electrical system and the high level of humidity in the enclosed space.
Despite the challenges posed by the enforced COVID-19 pandemic safety measures – relating to the displacement of the entire consular work force, the difficult procurement of replacement equipment/furniture and the backend operation interruptions brought about by actual onsite construction – the consular office has now been restored to a functional level.
Ambassador Lazaro remarked that, “the first renovation was undertaken last year to provide the public with better facilities, including better wash rooms and structures to aid our clients who were mothers of small children and persons with disabilities. It was our intention to formally inaugurate the area earlier this year but, alas, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown had eventually been imposed in France. Then the storm hit.
It was not that easy to manage operations during the six-month construction, especially since we had to ensure social distancing and other hygienic measures to keep the public and our workers healthy and safe. Looking back, I am quite amazed that the Embassy personnel and our clients were able to handle it very well. Our consular operations continued without interruption. I’m thankful to the public for their understanding, as we continue to see ourselves through this pandemic.”
New look of the fully refurbished Consular Section of the Philippine Embassy in Paris (clockwise) outdoor waiting area, processing area, Assistant-to-Nationals consultation room, comfort rooms for female and male clients.
The Ambassador continued, “we had hoped to have a gathering of Filipino community leaders with us, but we, unfortunately, are back in lockdown due to this second wave of COVID. Nonetheless, I just want our kababayans to know that the renovations were undertaken primarily with them in mind. We hope to welcome more of them when this pandemic is over.” For more information, please visit the Embassy’s website and Facebook page. END.
22 October 2020; Paris, France -- Philippine Education Secretary Leonor Briones participated in an online Extraordinary Global Education Meeting (GEM) co-organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom today.
Secretary Briones emphasized the Philippines always prioritized education in accordance with its Constitution. Education received the highest portion of the national budget. However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was intense competition for national resources and the challenge was to defend continuity of learning.
“We are doing all we can to ensure continuity of learning,” she emphasized.
The Philippines was doing its best so that delivery of learning was done in as safe a manner as possible. As the world seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, “education is a sound investment for transformation,” noted Briones.
She shared that enrollment for elementary school in 2021 was even higher than in previous years. Despite the challenges, “there will be equity and quality gains in education in the Philippines,” she concluded.
Heads of State and Government and Ministers from 70 countries and executives of a number of international organizations addressed the event, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The GEM adopted a declaration on the importance of promoting and protecting the right to education of all learners, especially girls and the most vulnerable, during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery phase.
The GEM highlighted the need for action and cooperation in three areas:
1. Maintaining and strengthening domestic and international financial support to the education sector;
2. Safe reopening of schools; and
3. Narrowing the digital divide.
Countries and stakeholders at the meeting pledged to monitor progress towards the fulfillment of the 2030 Education Agenda and the action areas identified in the GEM Declaration.
The Philippines is a member of 2030 Education Agenda Global Steering Committee and actively participated in the drafting of the GEM Declaration. Suggestions made by the Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO were incorporated in the text, particularly on addressing the digital divide and enhancing international cooperation for developing countries.END
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