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.