Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador administers oath of office to new honorary Vice Consul for Auckland and the upper north island regions

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Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez administered the oath of office to Mrs. Virginia Russell, the new Honorary Vice Consul for Auckland and the Upper North Island regions on 9 March 2013 at the Office of the Philippine Honorary Consul General located at the Central Business District in Auckland. The Philippine Government through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs has appointed Mrs. Virginia Russell to this position of trust and confidence to assist Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia in rendering consular services needed by more than 25,000 Filipinos and the visa requirements of New Zealanders and visitors under their consular jurisdiction. She would be an integral part of TEAM PHL-NZ together with Ambassador Benavidez, Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia in Auckland, Honorary Consul Peter Wait in Christchurch and Honorary Consul Virgilio De Asa in Fiji pursuing the three key pillars of Philippine foreign policy focusing on the preservation and enhancement of national security, promotion and attainment of economic security and protection of the rights and well- being of Filipinos in New Zealand and Fiji.

During the oath taking ceremony, Ambassador Benavidez stated that “Mrs. Russell’s appointment is part of the priority of the Philippine government to strengthen the frontline services of Honorary Consulates in New Zealand for the benefit of Filipinos here. With Mrs. Russell’s credentials, track record in successfully mounting projects for the Filipino community, her extensive networking among Filipinos, New Zealanders and other communities and her commitment and cooperation to assist in carrying out the various duties and responsibilities of honorary consular officers, she will be a valuable additional member of the Honorary Consulate in Auckland. Just like Honorary Consul General Garcia, Mrs. Russell fully understands the utmost importance of adhering to the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III for frontline services to be marked with honesty, integrity and hard work along the straight and righteous path, heeding the call of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario for the Department of Foreign Affairs and all Foreign Service Posts to serve with a smile, go the extra mile and reach beyond our grasp and living up to the expectations of the Filipino people that public service is a public trust. This means that the Consulate’s services follow the rules and regulations of and comply with the prescribed schedule of fees set by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

For Honorary Vice Consul Russell, this position of trust and confidence serving at the pleasure of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs is a great honour and reiterated her commitment to abide by the oath she has taken and work harder and assist Honorary Consul General Garcia to continue making the Consulate a professionally run office where Filipinos, New Zealanders and clients would experience efficient and effective consular services. “With the Philippine Embassy in Wellington as the Supervising Post and given the importance of being one as TEAM PHL-NZ, I shall do my very best in contributing to our overall mission,” Honorary Vice Consul Russell stated.

The oath taking ceremony was witnessed by Mrs Russell’s husband, Sean and sister, Lina, and friends from various Filipino organizations and groups.

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