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26/07/2012: Fil-Am Bluegrass Association, Inc. Organize their First-Ever Consular Outreach Mission for Kentucky

26 July 2012, Washington, D.C. The Philippine Embassy’s Consular Team conducted its first outreach mission in Lexington, Kentucky, on 21 July 2012, with the assistance of the Bluegrass Filipino-American Association, Inc., under the leadership of Dr. Cesar Agtarap.  A total of 192 services were rendered, comprising 78 passport renewals, 33 dual citizenship acquisitions, 9 reports of birth, 7 legalization of documents, and 65 registered Overseas Absentee Voters.  The team was also able to collect 65 letters of support for the Save our Industries Act, a bill pending in the U.S. Congress designed to help save jobs in the U.S. textile and Philippine apparel industries.

First Secretary and Consul Arlene T. Magno headed the Consular team which included Consular Assistants Lawrence Sumando and Ma. Lyra Ocampo, and Collecting Officer Renell Martinez.  Wennie Berganio of the Embassy’s Political Section augmented the team.  The Consular team was also joined for the first time by Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla and Welfare Officer Saul de Vries who addressed the labor concerns of Filipinos in the area and campaigned for OWWA membership.

The team was warmly received and ably assisted by the leaders and members of the Bluegrass Fil-Am Association.  At the welcome dinner for the consular team, it was explained that the association was formally registered as a non-profit organization with the Kentucky Secretary of State in April 1997.  Among its annual activities for the Fil-Am community in the area are Memorial Day and Labor Day picnics, Simbang Gabi and formal Christmas dinners, Valentine’s Day celebrations, and Philippine Folk Dance and Filipino language classes.

The Consular Team plans to conduct about six or seven more outreach missions for the year, with Orlando, Florida as the next destination.

Wennie Berganio and Lyra Ocampo (foreground) capture the biometrics of Filipinos registering as Overseas Absentee Voters and applying for passport renewal, respectively. At the background, are Renell Martinez, Collecting Officer, and Laurence Sumando, Processor, for the Kentucky Outreach.

Some of the 33 former Filipinos are seen here taking their oath of allegiance before Consul Arlene Magno.

Consul Arlene Magno encourages the group of new dual citizens to exercise their right to vote by participating in the 2013 national elections and solicits their support for the Save Act bill.

New dual citizens proudly show off their Identification Certificates.