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Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991

Foreign Service Act of 1991

An honorary consulate or honorary consul is a person who is appointed to act in the interests of a country’s citizens in another country

Foreign Service Act of the Philippines
Republic Act No. 708 (June 5, 1952), “Foreign Service Act of the Philippines”, reorganized and strengthened the foreign service of the Philippines to enable it to effectively serve the interests of the country abroad.
The Foreign Service Act of 1991 allows the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to appoint honorary consuls in areas where there are no Philippine embassies or consulates – and these honorary consuls are “qualified private persons” that perform a number of functions (on a non-career basis) for the government but are not given fixed salaries. Honorary consuls receive only an expense allowance for the work they do or an honorarium which may depend on the department’s annual budget (Era). While there are certain benefits that honorary consuls may get from their position, these people end up giving more than whatever benefits or perks they receive since most of the time, they are chosen because of their perceived influence and capability in putting forward the best interest of the Philippines, mostly for business and commercial purposes.

 

They carry out tasks on the basis of a volunteer agreement rather than an employment contract. Honorary consuls are appointed for a period of five years or less.

Depending on the country, honorary consuls can amend regular passports, issue travel documents, temporary visitors’ visas and transit visas, authenticate the validity of official acts of local authorities, conduct notarial services and even certify ships’ papers in some instances. Some Philippine honorary consuls, in cases where they are allowed by the laws of the host government, can also administer oaths and take witness depositions in cases that are pending before Philippine courts, and of course, they are also expected to extend assistance to “distressed Filipino citizens.”

However, on September 19, 1991, AN ACT REVISING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 708, AS AMENDED.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

Section 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PHILIPPINE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1991 

 

What’s worse is that some of the consuls are obviously after the position for reasons other than being “honorary.” A number of times, these people just get the title and the honorary privileges because they have the right connections. For instance, a number of these honorary consuls are not even familiar with the countries they are supposed to represent. The Consular Corps, together with the DFA, should really start cleaning up their ranks and weed out those who are not deserving of the “honorary” title. After all, if you want to be honored, you should also be “honorable.”

This law was been discussed during the government orientation and seminar for honorary / appointed officials in the government during my previous years in 2006.

for confidentiality, I removed my personal information

 

 

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