By Eva Siruno
Photos by Elizabeth de Guzman and Josephine del Rosario
SANDAKAN – On Friday, 10th February 2017, Philippine Consul John Francis Herrera paid a courtesy call on His Lordship Bishop Julius at the Diocesan Building of St Mary’s Church, Sandakan. He was joined by Eva Siruno, Director of Family Life, Josephine del Rosario, Chairlady of the Filipino Pastoral Community (FPC) and FPC members Elizabeth de Guzman, Expedito Rosales and Lydia Rosales.
Seated from L-R: Philippine Consul John Francis Herrera and His Lordship Bishop Julius Gitom.
Standing from L-R : Lydia Rosales, Josephine del Rosario,Elizabeth de Guzman and Eva Siruno
During the courtesy call, Consul Francis thanked Bishop Julius for the opportunity to meet him and informed him about the Philippine Embassy’s then on-going mobile consular mission in Sandakan, 7 – 17 February. The Consul also updated Bishop Julius on the case of two Filipinas who recently sought treatment at the Duchess of Kent Hospital and were referred to the Philippine Embassy by their family and friends for further assistance. One, a cancer patient, has already flown back to the Philippines for further treatment after she was fetched by her sister. She was issued a travel document by the Consul to facilitate her travel back to the Philippines. During her stay at the Duchess of Kent Hospital, she was given financial and moral support by willing Filipino volunteers in Sandakan. The other patient, who received an emergency operation after giving birth, has since been discharged from the hospital. In a telephone conversation with the Filipina, the Consul was able to confirm that she and her child are already safe from harm. Once they are strong enough, they plan to return to the Philippines.
The Consul was given an early invitation for the Philippine Embassy to send a speaker to a conference being organized by the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, in coordination with the Dioceses of Sandakan and Keningau, on “Migrating Safely, Legally and with Dignity”. It will be held sometime in September this year. The Consul gave assurances to Bishop Julius that he will discuss this with the Ambassador with the recommendation that the Ambassador or a high ranking official of the Philippine Embassy attend the conference and give the presentation.
A dinner with “kababayans” (a Filipino word meaning fellow countrymen) was hosted later in the evening at Keranamu Restaurant by the Honourable Philippine Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya. Josephine Del Rosario and Elizabeth de Guzman received tokens of appreciation from Ambassador Malaya for their efforts in assisting distressed Filipinos in Sandakan.