PH Consulate in New York hosts Filipino journalists participating in Friends, Partners, Allies Reporting Tour

Officials of the Philippine Consulate General in New York engage with Filipino journalists at the Friends, Partners, Allies Program for Journalists in Kalayaan Hall, Philippine Center. (Photo by Nikka Arenal)

On April 26 (Friday), the Philippine Consulate General in New York hosted an on-the-record courtesy call with Filipino journalists participating in the Friends, Partners, Allies Program for Journalists at the Kalayaan Hall, Philippine Center. The meeting aimed to deepen the Philippine Consulate’s engagement with the media and enhance the Philippine media’s understanding of the Philippine-U.S. bilateral relations and the Consulate’s activities in its jurisdiction.


The event featured a panel consisting of Consul General Senen T. Mangalile, Tourism Attaché Francisco M. Lardizabal, and Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Industry Development and Investment Promotions Group (IPG), who was in New York for a series of business meetings. The discussions focused on defense and security, economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, the dynamics of the Filipino and Filipino-American communities, and issues impacting overseas Filipino workers in the US Northeast.


The discussions on defense and security delved into collaborative security measures essential for maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region, highlighting the Filipino-American community’s perception of the West Philippine Sea issue. Consul General Mangalile emphasized the community’s deep connection to the region and its implications for national security, stating, “A lot of them are sympathetic to the Philippines, and they understand that anything that goes on there (West Philippine Sea) is a threat to the country [and] their families back home.”


Economic talks focused on enhancing trade and investment flows, with Undersecretary Rodolfo promoting the Philippines as a burgeoning business destination and discussing the government’s efforts to secure a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. He stated, “The Philippine government continues to aggressively push for an FTA with the U.S., signaling our firm intent in securing a trade deal that puts the Philippines first in line once the U.S. is ready to open its doors for FTA negotiations.”


Tourism Attaché Lardizabal emphasized the strategic importance of American tourists to the Philippines, noting their significant contribution to tourism receipts despite being second to South Koreans in visitor numbers. He discussed efforts to attract former Filipinos and mainstream American tourists drawn to immersive dining experiences and destinations like Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao.


Consul General Mangalile also highlighted the Consulate’s strategic approach to cultural diplomacy, managing cultural exchanges, and community relations to engage Filipino and non-Filipino audiences in the US Northeast more effectively. He praised the community-driven nature of many cultural programs, which ensures authenticity and significant impact.


As for the safety of the Filipino community in the U.S. Northeast, the Consul General was pleased to share that the incidence of hate crimes targeting Asian or Filipino immigrants has notably declined after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the Consulate continues to monitor the situation and advocates for the safety of its nationals. This shift reflects a broader societal move towards normalization post-pandemic, though vigilance against general hate crimes is still necessary.


Finally, Consul General Mangalile also discussed the importance of overseas voter registration among Filipinos in the U.S. Northeast. He stressed the significance of their participation in the Philippines’ democratic process, underscoring the Consulate’s efforts to facilitate and increase overseas voter engagement to strengthen their connection to the homeland.

The panelists, participants, and officers of the Philippine Consulate General in New York gather for a group photo after the courtesy call. (Photo by Maria Annette Aquino-Herrera)

The Friends, Partners, Allies Program for Journalists has brought together a cohort of ten distinguished journalists from the Philippines, including Mr. John Ted Cordero of GMA News Online, Ms. Celeste Anna Formoso of Palawan News and The Daily Tribune, Mr. Jomelle Garner of The Daily Tribune, Ms. Iris Gonzales of Philippine Star, Mr. Lucky Malicay of The FREEMAN, Mr. Jervis Manahan of ABS-CBN News, Ms. Frances Mangosing of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Ms. Vinafel Pilapil of Mindanao Media Hub (MMH)/People’s Television Network, Ms. Joyce Rocamora of the Philippine News Agency, and Mr. Martin Sadongdong of Manila Bulletin. These journalists, who specialize in foreign affairs, business, and defense, are poised to deliver comprehensive reports that will enrich public understanding of these strategic bilateral engagements. END