Philippines competes at the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Athens
Fresh from her wins at the International Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament-Gracia Fair Cup in Hungary last month, Ms. Breanna Labadan once again raised the Philippine flag as the lone Filipino competitor during the 2023 FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup organized by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in Palaio Faliro, Athens, Greece on 17-19 March 2023. Ms. Labadan is one of the youngest participants during the competition and made history when she became the first rhythmic gymnast representing the Philippines to compete at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships during the 2022 edition of the tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. Ms. Labadan, together with her proud parents, met with Ambassador Giovanni and Mrs. Novelyn Palec during their courtesy visit at the Philippine Embassy in Greece on 20 March 2023.
Philippine Embassy’s “Usapang Babae” roundtable discussion on International Women’s Day 2023
8 March 2023 - Philippine Embassy personnel held a collegial discussion on 8 March 2023 to mark International Women’s Day. As an offshoot of various lectures and seminars attended by personnel over the years, and in line with the theme of gender equality and an inclusive society, the frank and open discussions delved into how as individuals and as civil servants can personnel concretely help empower women. The discussion strengthened the personnel’s commitment to provide gender-sensitive and timely service to Filipinos in Greece, Cyprus, and North Macedonia, as well as to help empower each other. Embassy personnel further pledged to continue to pursue the advancement of gender equality everyday and not only on National Women’s Month
Free Health Screening and Positive Living Forum offered to Filipinos in Athens
20 March 2023 - Around 30 Athens-based Filipinos availed of free health screening services, which included blood sugar and cholesterol testing, as part of the Health and Positive Living Forum for OFWs co-sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in Athens and the Migrant Workers Office on 19 March 2023. Over 50 Filipinos attended the lectures on physical and mental health by Filipino and Greek resource persons which followed the health screening. The event was held at Pinoy Fitness and Dance Studio in Athens in celebration of National Women’s Month.
Philippine Embassy provides simultaneous consular services in Athens and Nicosia for National Women’s Month
13 March 2023 - On the occasion of National Women’s Month, two separate teams from the Philippine Embassy held simultaneous consular missions in Athens, Greece and Nicosia, Cyprus. Filipinos in Athens availed of passport and Overseas Voter Registration services at the Philippine Embassy in Athens on 12 March 2023, while applicants in Cyprus flocked to the consular outreach at the Centrum Hotel in Nicosia on 11-12 March 2023 to avail of passport, civil registry, dual citizenship, and labor and welfare services. The outreach in Cyprus was highlighted by a health and wellness seminar in Larnaca organized by the Migrant Workers Office and the Philippine Consulate in Larnaca, and capped by a meeting between the Filipino community and Philippine Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec.
Health and Positive Living Forum for OFWs in Cyprus
13 March 2023 - In celebration of National Women’s Month, a seminar on physical and mental health conducted by health experts in Cyprus was held on 12 March 2023 in Larnaca. The event was co-sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in Athens and organized by the Migrant Workers Office under Labor Attaché Cynthia Cruz and Welfare Officer Marivic Mondina, with the support of Philippine Honorary Consul Charmagne Garcia- Laconico, and highlighted by the keynote address of Philippine Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec. The event was capped by a town hall meeting in which various issues affecting Filipinos in Cyprus were discussed.
PH Ambassador and Greece’s Minister of Migration Discuss Greek Migration Policy
Athens, Greece - Philippine Ambassador to Greece Giovanni E. Palec met with Greece’s Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, on 01 March 2023 to discuss the migration policy of Greece and the entry of Filipino workers into the country.
The Ambassador informed Minister Mitarachi that there are numerous inquiries on how to bring Filipino workers to Greece to fill vacancies in the tourism industry. Minister Mitarachi confirmed that there is a significant shortage of tourism workers and acknowledged that Greece’s experience with Filipino workers has been very positive over the decades. The two officials discussed how the Philippines and Greece may work together to support Filipino mobility while alleviating Greek labor shortage.
Philippine Embassy in Athens joins the nation in celebrating the 2023 National Women’s Month
Philippine Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec and personnel of the Embassy wear purple to mark the start of National Women’s Month. Committed to the advancement of women’s rights, the Embassy has month-long activities to promote gender equality and a more inclusive society in keeping with this year’s theme. Embassy personnel began to distribute brochures on women’s rights to consular applicants today as a part of the Embassy’s campaign to provide information that would empower women living in abroad.
12 February 2023 - The Philippine Embassy conducted its first Town Hall Meeting for the year with the Filipino community on 12 February 2022 in person and via Zoom. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec and joined by Consul Judy Robianes, Consul Therese Cantada, Labor Attaché Cynthia Cruz and Welfare Officer Marivic Mondina.
Those present were from Accredited Community Partners (ACP) - Chona Pamintuan; B.I.M.A.K (Emilia Soriano); Budabosa-CCM-Abra- Jocelyn Haboy; Couples For Christ (CFC)- Marietta Ilagan; Crossroads UPC Athens (Luther Hallasgo); Filipino Athens Volunteers- Teresita Bristol; Filipino Christian Fellowship of Athens - Bella Sanchez-Pearson; Golden Wisdom Advocates- Danilo Robles; Team-Ba Organization- Ivy Bernardo; TFC Greece- Wilhelmina Mendoza-Buado; United Migrants Greece Chapter- Remelie Santiago and Triskelion Greece National Council - Esperanza Salva. Ms. Rosemarie Nicolas representing the Filipino Organization in Northern Greece in Thessaloniki attended via Zoom.
Ambassador Palec updated the meeting of consular matters and the start of registration for Overseas Voting for elections in May 2025; Labor Attaché Cynthia Cruz gave an overview on the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and the main tasks of Philippine Migrant Workers Office (WMO) formerly POLO, under the DMW. Welfare Officer Marivic Mondina informed the meeting that OWWA will continue to cater to OWWA members and dependents providing the same services.
The meeting was also informed of the upcoming activities of the Embassy and the Philippine National celebrations, the Contingency Plan preparation for Filipinos under the Embassy’s jurisdiction and Filcom’s plans for the 125th Anniversary of Philippine Independence in June this year. Ambassador Palec encouraged the meeting to participate in the activities.
30 January 2023 – In promoting Arnis as the Philippine national martial art and sport, the Philippine Embassy in Athens conducted an introduction and demonstration of Arnis on 29 January 2023 via zoom and in person at the Philippine Embassy.
The event was led online by Philippine-based coach Mr. Ronald Farol, an accredited Technical Official of the Philippine Eskrima, Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF) and coach of Cambodia Arnis Team. The in-person participants in the Embassy were guided by Mr. Arden Poblete, an Arnis coach based in Greece and founder/Instructor of the Kalidu International Association Inc. in Greece.
The activity was attended by some members of the Filipino community, Embassy personnel led by Ambassador Giovanni Palec, with First Secretary and Consul Therese Cantada, and PDMW-OWWA personnel led by Labatt Cynthia Cruz. The Greek instructors from Modern Kalidu Arnis guided the in-person participants with the basic moves and techniques of Arnis.
Ambassador Palec welcomed the participants and encouraged them to pursue the sport as it develops self-control and discipline and can also be used for self-defense. It also promotes the culture of the Filipinos.
Arnis is already known to some Greeks through the Kalidu Modern Arnis group which was founded by Mr. Poblete. The Embassy plans to introduce and promote Arnis in forthcoming activities.
The participants enjoyed the session on Arnis. A group photograph with the participants was taken after the demonstration. They were later treated with a simple meal of pancit, chicken and coffee.
Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec, together with First Secretary and Consul Therese R. Cantada, met with Ms. Regina Golemi, Chair of Goldair Group and Mr. Nikos Sofiadis, Deputy Managing Director of Goldair Airline Services, at the Philippine Embassy on 12 January 2023.
Goldair Group is one of the largest and most reputable groups of companies in the fields of tourism and transportation in Greece. It has operations in the field of international forwarding and logistics, ground handling, aviation security services, rail cargo transportation, travelling and professional LED lighting and trade.
Goldair Airline Services is the general sales agent representing Philippine Airlines (PAL) in Greece since 1972. It is the first GSA Company in Greece and represents over 24 airlines in the passenger and cargo sector through the provision of a full range of services and facilities to promote airlines in the Greek market.
The meeting discussed the longstanding partnership between Goldair and Philippine Airlines and the opportunities for cooperation for exploration in the areas of tourism, labor and trade.
Philippine Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec, together with Philippine Honorary Consul Criton Tornaritis of Nicosia, met with Mr. Andreas Zachariades, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Cyprus on 08 December 2022 to discuss issues affecting the Overseas Filipino Workers in Cyprus.
During the meeting, Mr. Zachariades conveyed the transition of the Department of Social Insurance of Cyprus into the Deputy Ministry of Social Insurance, turning the office into a more upgraded agency which is expected to become fully operational in 2023.
The meeting discussed the implementation of the minimum wage for workers in Cyprus, noting the country’s recent enactment of the Ministry Decree on the minimum wage as well as the adoption of the International Labor Organization’s regulations concerning domestic workers and caregivers.
Ambassador Palec and Mr. Zachariades highlighted matters related to undocumented workers, and also evaluated the possibility for the Philippines and Cyprus to enter into a bilateral labor agreement for different categories of workers, including hospitality and tourism sector.
On 09 December 2022, Ambassador Giovanni Palec, together with Philippine Honorary Consul Charmagne Garcia-Laconico of Larnaca, met with Mr. Antonis Orthodoxou, Group Managing Director of Orthodoxou Group and Mr. Dominique Laconico, President and Chief Executive Officer of Megabet Plus, to discuss the interest to establish a Philippine-Cyprus Chamber of Commerce or Business Council.
Mr. Antonis Orthodoxou is engaged in a family-owned conglomerate ranging from petroleum supply to banking and finance as well as labor supply services while Mr. Dominique Laconico’s company, Megabet Plus, is part of the Udenna Group of Companies which includes Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant.
During the meeting, the business executives were advised to explore the more convenient option with a view to establish an entity that would help facilitate more trade and services between the Philippines and Cyprus.
While this is still in the exploratory stage, the meeting agreed that the establishment of such a body would help propel business relations between the two countries.
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