OFW Groups Call for Recall of Philippine Ambassador to Rome

Groups of overseas Filipino workers in Italy has urged President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to recall the Philippine ambassador to Italy Domingo Nolasco for “conduct inimical to the Filipinos.”

In a petition signed in September, nine groups have cited the embassy’s failure to facilitate Filipinos’ right to suffrage; failure to institute changes in consular processes; failure to act on crisis situation (August earthquake in central Italy); and consistent refusal to dialogue, according to a Rappler report.

Denying the allegations raised by the petitioning groups — OFW Watch Italy, ENFID Italy, OFW Global Movement, CGSMF-Angel, Bato-bato sa Langit 87.9 FM, Federation of Women in Italy, Task Force OFW, Migrante Milan, and the Association of Foreign Workers in Italy — Nolasco said the organizations are entitled to their opinions.

“The embassy is well-aware of the over 167,000 Filipinos and the over 200 Filipino associations and organizations in Italy. We shall continue to serve and constructively engage them,” he said.

Nolasco explained that in the overseas absentee voting the Philippine embassy in Rome was merely deputized by the Commission on Elections, and was only following instructions from the commission, the report said. The embassy did not conduct field voting, he said, because it had not received authority from the Commission on Elections to do so.

However, the ambassador said the embassy undertook several activities – including massive information dissemination, explanation of overseas voting procedures to various Filipino groups’ events, delivery of electoral mailing packets, and collection of official sealed ballot envelopes, among others – to ensure high turn-out of voters in Italy.

He also explained that he had instituted several changes at the embassy ever since assignment to Rome. These include the observance of no lunch break, reduction of document processing time, implementation of whole day document releasing, and opening of the consular section during Sundays every quarter.