DFA OFFICE OPENING. Representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the National Economic and Development Authority, and the city government lead the launch of the PH25-million, two-story building Monday (Sept. 5, 2022) in Kidapawan City. The DFA office will serve North Cotabato and other nearby provinces for passport processing and other related services. (Photo courtesy of Kidapawan CIO)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – The PHP25-million Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Office for North Cotabato here has started operations for passport processing and other related services, an official said Tuesday.

Mayor Jose Paolo Evangelista said the two-story DFA office along Alim Street will serve not only North Cotabato but also other nearby areas in Bukidnon and Maguindanao provinces.

"This development will benefit all as it is also expected to foster progress in our local economy", the mayor said of the DFA office deemed as the biggest so far in the Soccsksargen region.

The DFA office was launched Monday with DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Jesus Domingo; Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Henry Bensurto Jr.; and National Economic and Development Authority Regional head Teresita Socorro Ramos as special guests.

Domingo and Evangelista signed a memorandum of agreement on Aug. 19 for the establishment of the local consular office.

As a counterpart, Evangelista said the local government provided the land for the consular facility.

Domingo said   the office will offer regular services such as passport appointments, assistance to Filipinos and distressed overseas workers, and a civil registry to update the status of the overseas workers.

Evangelista, meanwhile, asked the DFA to establish a link with all embassies to promote local culture and tradition to create investment opportunities. (PNA)