Sunday, March 4, 2012
FIL-AMS BID FAREWELL TO POPULAR CONSUL-GENERAL NOLASCO
Domingo “Ding” Nolasco, the Philippine Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General in Washington DC is leaving his post with the same modest professionalism that marked his work in the United States.
He relinquished his post exactly to the day 6 years after starting his job as Consul General in Washington DC. And over lunch at a quiet corner of the Tabard Inn, he shunned the limelight after being told of the outpouring of admiration and gratitude from the Fil-Am community.
“It’s an honor to know him,” enthused Tess Alarcon who helped establish Feed the Hungry, a DC-based charity that helps thousands of indigent Filipinos back home.
“I am saying this from the heart and I hope to be considered a friend. He has helped many times when I sought it, and for that I wish to personally thank him and express my undying gratitude and thanks,” she said.
“Please tell them, thank you very much for all the help and support they gave me,” he said before sheepishly imploring, “but wait until I’ve gone.”
“Ding Nolasco is totally unimpressed by his position and rank,” observed Mencie Hairston.
“He is efficient and effective,” Alarcon agreed. “Con-Gen Nolasco is full of compassion, guided by service, love for our kababayans and the country even beyond the call of duty.”
“For a Consul General, he has not lost the common touch. He is friendly and accessible and given to the sociable nature of Filipinos,” declared Fil-Am accountant and business leader Patrick Ferraren. “He readily associates with people, always attuned to the values of family and country.”
“He is one of the best diplomats, one who truly defines the meaning of diplomatic relations,” says insurance executive and Philippine American Chamber of Commerce leader John Cabrera.
Grace Valera, one of the co-executive directors of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) and herself a former member of the Philippine diplomatic corps, said they’ve always had “very fruitful” relations with the Philippine Embassy thanks to Nolasco.
Nolasco is largely credited with pushing various programs, including the shift to electronic passports and registration of Filipinos in middle-eastern and southeastern states as well as the Caribbean region for Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV).
He also vigorously pursued the Philippine Embassy’s outreach in far-flung Filipino communities, promoting dual citizenship and inter-acting with kababayans eager for more information coming directly from an authoritative source. These dialogues became a facet of his visits.
He championed the rescue and renovation of the old vermin-infested Philippine chancery building just across from where the new Philippine Embassy stands along Massachusetts Avenue. It served as the seat of the Philippine government when the Japanese invaded the archipelago during World War II. The structure, close to being condemned by the city government, now houses the consular office.
But his most indelible mark perhaps was to imbibe in his staff the value of the “human touch” while carrying out their jobs. It was not uncommon to see him march out of his office to help out when the queue gets too long.
Nolasco’s personal touch was often reassuring for Filipino document-seekers, many of whom travelled hundreds of miles just to renew or apply for passports, register children born here or avail of any of a host of consular services.
“He’s succeeded at making our Philippine Embassy more service-oriented, friendly and welcoming,” Alarcon said.
“He’s at ease being a diplomat – with the requisite diplomacy and tact – as he is replacing a blown fuse at Romulo Hall in the midst of a community gathering or foregoing a coveted trip to Hawaii to represent the Ambassador at the 2011 Dakila Awards,” Hairston added.
Another community leader, Pablito Alarcon shared this anecdote:
“I was at the Consular Section of the Philippine Embassy two weeks ago, headed by DCM Domingo Nolasco, to renew a passport. I was very impressed with the passport renewal system that I was able to complete the process in less than 20 minutes.
“The lobby was very clean and spacious, provided with lots of chair and restrooms. A staff came out to the waiting room and distributed the necessary application form; another staff in another window received the processing fee and forwarded the paper to another staff who took the picture and fingerprints and that was it.
“All the staff was very courteous and smiling. ConGen Nolasco came out from his office and said hello to everyone in the waiting room.”
And the admiration goes beyond the professional. “His family is a model of propriety as well. His wife and kids are just superb examples of good behavior becoming of an emissary,” observed Ferraren.
Because he is one of the few diplomats who are leaving exactly on time, Nolasco and his daughter Jan are leaving at the end of February. His wife Cecil is staying behind until Nico, a senior, finishes high school in a few months.
Nolasco is from Camalig, Albay and graduated with an economics major degree from Ateneo de Manila University; a law degree from the University of the Philippines and a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Tufts University in Massachusetts.
He served as a consul at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 1994 to 2002 and was assigned in Washington DC in February 2006. Nolasco said he was still waiting for word on his next assignment at the Manila head office.
“The Philippine Embassy was blessed to have this kind of man in their midst,” Tess Alarcon declared. “We will miss him but we hope that he will return to us someday.”