Ribbon-cutting ceremony led by (L-R) 2nd District Rep. Rudy S. Caoagdan, Cotabato Gov. Nancy A. Catamco, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph A. Evangelista, RDC XII Secretary & NEDA XII Assistant Regional Director Carmel P. Matabang, and DFA Consular Office General Santos City Administrative Officer Lizel A. Decrepito.

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato – The new office building of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Consular Office in Kidapawan City was finally turned over to the City Government of Kidapawan by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) XII-Cotabato Second District Engineering Office (2nd DEO) in a formal turnover ceremony last January 05, 2022.

In attendance in the said ceremony were Regional Development Council (RDC) XII Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) XII Assistant Regional Director Carmel P. Matabang, North Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Rudy S. Caoagdan, Cotabato Gov. Nancy A. Catamco, DPWH XII-Cotabato 2nd DEO District Engineer Rey R. Francisco, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph A. Evangelista, and DFA Consular Office General Santos City Administrative Officer Liezl Anne A. Decrepito who represented Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

This project, a product of strong partnership between RDC XII, LGUs-Kidapawan City and Cotabato Province, 2nd Congressional District Office, the DFA and DPWH, is a fulfillment of the long-standing clamor of the people in the northern part of the SOCCSKSARGEN Region to avail of the various services of DFA. Furthermore, the project will eliminate the need to travel lengthy hours and queue as early as dawn in the nearest DFA Consular Offices in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, and Tagum.

In his message, Rep. Caogdan said that this is one of his pilot projects for his district under his first term of office. He emphasized that this office building will be a “structure of good governance” wherein all people who have entered will eventually go out with much gladness because of the best services they have availed from the DFA personnel who will be deployed in the said consular office.

Governor Catamco thanked the RDC, NEDA, Rep. Caoagdan, and Mayor Evangelista for this initiative that will surely benefit and bring much convenience to the people of the province. The Provincial Governor highlighted that when it comes to development and for the people of the province, leaders set aside political affiliations and unite together for the good of all their constituents.

For his part, Mayor Evangelista also thanked all the primary actors that made this project a reality. He is hoping that all other requirements needed will be in place at the soonest possible time so that the DFA Consular Office can operate within the first quarter of the year.

On the other hand RDC Secretary and NEDA XII Assistant Regional Director Carmel Matabang said the opening of the DFA Consular Office in Kidapawan is in adherence to and compliance with the marching orders of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to make government services closer and responsive to the needs of the people. She also said that “this is in line with the realization of enhancing efficiency in delivering public services to the people and advancing the welfare of our migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos, as enshrined in Chapters 5 and 21 of the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and of the SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 Midterm Update”.

The DFA Consular Office Building was built on a lot donated by the City Government of Kidapawan and was funded through the initiative of the Office of the Second Congressional District Representative in the 2020 and 2021 national budgets which provided Php 25 million for the building. The construction commenced on November 18, 2020, and was finally completed in December 2021. Once operational, the DFA Consular Office will also serve people from the adjacent provinces of Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat. (Jal P. Octavio, NEDA XII-PFPD)