Philippines Counsel General visits territory

Members of the Filipino Community with Counsel General Julius Torres during his visit to the territory. [Photo: JL]

Philippines Counsel General Julius D. Torres told the American Samoa Filipino community, “You must respect the cultures and the traditions of the territory and be good ambassadors among yourselves.”

Torres has been in the territory since last Thursday and left last night returning to Honolulu where he’s based at the Philippine embassy.

He visited the Filipino community in the territory to extend consular services and make himself available to meet the public. This was his first visit to the territory.

The Counsel General told Samoa News he will make it a priority to come back on a yearly basis to provide services for citizens of the Philippines residing in the territory. Services include renewing passports, attaining copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates and addressing concerns the Filipino community brings to his attention.

He said there are not many problems encountered by the Filipino community residing in the territory. “They behave themselves, there are not too many incidents and conflicts involving members of the Filipino community in the territory.

“Minor problems that came to my attention are the Filipino fishermen who are jumping ship. They come in as fishermen however they find it hard to work on the fishing vessel then they leave the ship and stay on the island, either to look for a job or to find a way to go back to the Philippines.”

He gave some advice and encouragement to the Filipino community: “Keep doing what you’re doing, we are known around the world for our good works, for being very easy to assimilate.

“Also, to live in the American Samoa, you must respect the cultures and the traditions of the territory and be good ambassadors among yourselves.”

Torres, who has a degree in Journalism from the University of Philippines, entered the Department of Foreign Affairs some 30 years ago in 1981.

He is married to Milali Topacio, a dermatologist and they have five children. Torres is a veteran of the Philippine Foreign Service, having been assigned to various posts around the world, including Bucharest, Romania; Saipan; Brussels, Belgium; Canberra, Australia; Koror, Palau; Toronto, Canada; and most recently in Amman in Jordan, where he served as Philippine Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Torres’ varied postings has allowed him to learn several languages such as Spanish, German, French, and Romanian in addition to his native Filipino and English.

He noted that the life pace in American Samoa suits him, it’s unlike New York and Manila where traffic is very awful.


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