LIHU‘E — An overflow crowd greeted Philippine Consul General to Hawai‘i Julius Torres on Saturday on his first trip to Kaua‘i since being assigned to the post in Honolulu in December.
“We do these visits to the Neighbor Islands based on community need,” Torres said after administering an oath of citizenship to a resident at the start of the visit that continues today.
“The visits are coordinated by a local organization on Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council,” he said.
People who need consular services offered by the Philippine Consulate can do so from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in Meeting Rooms A and B at the Lihu‘e Civic Center.
Ramon Dela Pena of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council said the Sunday hours were put in place in the event people needed more time following the Saturday event, which ran from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Lihu‘e Civic Center.
Torres said that during the visits for consular services, people are able to have their passports renewed or replaced if lost, have a passport extended, take care of visas, authenticate documents, apply for affidavit services or take care of dual citizenship matters.
The primary focus of his trip this weekend was overseas absentee voting registration.
“This is so the people can vote absentee,” Dela Pena said. “Additionally, they can take care of all of these matters without having to incur the expense or inconvenience of having to fly to O‘ahu and have these matters addressed at the Philippine Consulate”
Joining Torres, the consular services team included Consul Lolit Capco and staff members Ver Pacio, Lita Pascual, Sheila Tarrosa, Manny Paredes and Rey Calaguian.
The team participated in a courtesy visit with Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. prior to presenting lei at the bust of Philippines national hero Dr. Jose Rizal on Saturday.
Liza Trinidad of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council said more than 100 people had registered before 9 a.m., with more people overflowing into the breezeway between the Lihu‘e Civic Center and the Pi‘ikoi Building.
“I wondered what was going on,” said Mari Chan who was planning to do some work in her office during the weekend. “There were so many people waiting, I think I’ll just wait to do the work until next week.”
Torres said eventually he would like the consular services trip to take place twice a year on the Neighbor Islands, but those plans are dependent on need.
“We need to be able to budget for these trips,” Torres said. “So if the people need to have us do this, we can budget accordingly.”
In addition to Trinidad, Charlmaine Bulosan, Jimmy Iloreta and Pia Gregorio headed the organizing committee for the consular services visit.
Visit www.philippineconsulatehonolulu.com for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.