Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Embassy message for Christmas 2014

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As we Filipinos welcome and celebrate the birth of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, the Philippine Embassy Team in Wellington, the Philippine Consulate General in Auckland and the Philippine Consulates in Christchurch and Fiji and our families join me in extending our heartfelt greetings of a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and a BOUNTIFUL NEW YEAR to everyone. This season of thanksgiving and togetherness highlights our unshakeable faith in GOD and the continuing strength and resilience of our beloved country and people in the midst of challenges and difficulties affecting our nation, the region and the world. This season of hope and commitment ushers in our steadfast solidarity with each other keeping the “Bayanihan” (volunteerism and helping one another) spirit alive in our hearts and minds and uniting ourselves in prayer, goodwill and gratitude wherever we may be. Christmas has been and will always be especially meaningful for us Filipinos. It is the time of the year when sharing and giving, not only of gifts and material things, but more importantly, of one’s heart and self become even more significant.

We are grateful for all of the blessings and support as we carried out our GOD-given mission of representing the Philippines in New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Cook Islands and serving more than 41,129 Filipinos in these countries. Our relations with them continue to grow from strength to strength as we pursue mutually beneficial partnership, deepen people-to-people ties and work for the protection, welfare and well-being of our countrymen. The Philippine Embassy’s mobile consular services numbering thirty-seven since 2011 has been provided for more than 13,000 Filipinos throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries under our jurisdiction. As Filipinos availed of the Philippine Embassy’s consular outreach missions in areas where they live and work, they were able to enjoy immense benefits in terms of saving money, time and days off.

We face the New Year with undivided hearts, clear vision and single focus to continue doing our best in serving our beloved country and people in New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Cook Islands and strengthening the close friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between Filipinos and New Zealanders, Samoans, Fijians, Tongans and Cook Islanders. Our jobs are our mission. Uppermost in our hearts and minds are the words and example of President Benigno S. Aquino III who directed that all frontline services of the Government must be marked by honesty, integrity, transparency and hard work and of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario who stated that the men and women of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Foreign Service Posts, in any time zone, must always serve with a smile, go the extra mile and reach beyond our grasp.

May the CHRIST of Christmas continue to rule and reign in our lives and the true meaning of the season fill our hearts and homes with many blessings and overflowing gratitude.

VIRGINIA H. BENAVIDEZ Ambassador Wellington, December 2014

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