24 February 2022, Calgary - The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Calgary announced today that the year 2021 was its most productive year so far since its establishment in February 2016.

Consular Services

The previous year saw the PCG recording its highest number of total consular services at 32,239 units (96% higher than 2020), which included 20,905 passports (92% more than 2020). Even when compared to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic years, both the total number of consular services and the total number of passport services in 2021 were still the highest by the PCG since 2016.

The PCG also spent a total of 19.5 days outside of Calgary for the seven (7) consular outreach missions it conducted in 2021 – twice in Edmonton and one each in Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Lethbridge, Regina, and Saskatoon. A total of 4,308 consular services, including 3,792 passports, were processed during these consular outreach missions.

Since its previous office was small for the large number of its daily clients, the PCG decided to move to a much bigger office in May 2021. This allowed the PCG to process more in-person applicants despite the two-meter physical distancing public health measure that was in place in 2021.

The PCG’s shift to an online passport appointment system as early as October 2020 led to the quicker processing of passport applications throughout 2021, with each passport application now being processed in just 10 to 15 minutes.

By July 2021, the PCG started to offer sufficient online passport appointment slots to the public.

The PCG also opened for 17 Saturdays in 2021 to cater to more clients.

Cultural Diplomacy

For its cultural diplomacy program, the PCG initiated and led the installation of the Dr. José Rizal Monument in Nose Creek Regional Park in Airdrie, Alberta. The Rizal Monument, which was unveiled to the public on 23 October 2021, is the first of its kind in the Province of Alberta. The PCG pursued the project in partnership with the Airdrie City Council, Filipino Airdrie Association, and the seven-man Rizal Monument Project Team.

On 30 December 2021, the PCG led the first celebration of the Rizal Day at the Dr. José Rizal Monument.

Further, the PCG partnered with the Binhi ng Lahi Philippine Folk Dance Troupe for the Sining Filipinas and Sayaw Filipinas projects.

Four episodes of the Sining Filipinas, a seven-part online international lecture series on Philippine arts, were livestreamed in 2021 from the Binhi ng Lahi’s Facebook page, which the PCG shared on its own Facebook page to reach its more than 30,000 followers. The online lectures in 2021 featured the topics on “Philippine Rondalla,” “Tubong of Catanauan: Practice and Tradition,” “Baybayin: The Ancient Script Every Filipino Must Know,” and “Kundiman.”

“Sayaw Filipinas,” on the other hand, was an online dance recital that showcased various Philippine folk dances from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The event was livestreamed on 30 December 2021.

Economic Diplomacy

In 2021, the PCG helped established more linkages for education cooperation between the Philippines and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In January 2020, the PCG invited officials of the University of Saskatchewan to visit the Philippines. The PCG arranged their meetings with various Philippine government agencies and state universities. That introduction and networking contributed to the signing of the MOU between the University of Saskatchewan and the Magic 7 consortium of Philippine universities on 19 May 2021. The Magic 7 includes: 1) Benguet State University; 2) Central Luzon State University; 3) Central Mindanao University; 4) Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University; 5) Mariano Marcos State University; 6) Mountain Province State Polytechnic College; and 7) University of Southeastern Philippines.

The PCG linked up the University of Lethbridge with the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Space Agency, and the University of the Philippines Diliman, for a potential cooperation on space science.

Likewise, the PCG brokered the first meeting between the University of Saskatchewan and the University of the Philippines Los Baños for a possible cooperation in agriculture, food security, environmental science, and climate change.

The PCG also welcomed the enrolment of the three DOST scholars who began their post-graduate studies in 2021 in the University of Alberta under the DOST-University of Alberta Graduate Scholarship Program (GSP). The PCG introduced the DOST and the University of Alberta to each other in 2018 and this led to the signing of the GSP in 2019.

Further, the PCG began in 2021 its advocacy for the easier recognition of credentials of Filipino nurses who graduated from the Philippines and are now in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Consul General Zaldy Patron met with various government officials of Alberta and Saskatchewan for this advocacy.

“The year 2021 was a significant year for the PCG as we were able to greatly improve our delivery of our consular services and, at the same time, pursue meaningful initiatives for our cultural and economic diplomacy programs despite the pandemic. We will continue our efforts to enhance the quality of our consular services and we will pursue new projects and initiatives that will further advance our cultural and economic diplomacy programs,” Consul General Patron remarked.