by Quay Evano, ABS-CBN News
The Filipino community in Alberta and Saskatchewan was saddened to learn Consul General Julius Torres is leaving Calgary by April 20 and will return to the department of foreign affairs in Manila.
Torres became the first-ever Consul General for Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2016, after years of petitions by kababayans to have a permanent diplomatic office in Calgary.
Torres served as Consul General in Toronto from 2003 to 2006, Ambassador in Jordan, and DFA assistant secretary before being assigned to Calgary.
“He has done a tremendous job connecting people within the community and the broader community. Really excellent job so we really don’t understand why he has to be relieved of his position,” said Cesar Calla.
The Filipino communities in both provinces have started a petition to retain Torres as Consul General.
The petition with thousands of signatures has already been sent to the DFA.
“I will really speak out personally that I think is a grave injustice and now we have done what I think is ethically correct in this type of situation,” said Dolly Castillo. “Let him finish his term that is his crowning glory to a 38 by that time he retires, 39 years of service, and then you won’t hear anything more from us.”
Even pro-Duterte Filipinos in the provinces have also started their own petition for Torres to stay.
“Every time na nakakapunta kami sa isang lugar, gusto po ng ating consu general na nakakausap ang masa kaya nga ang slogan niya ay ilapit ang gobyerno sa tao. Bakit ngayon nararamdaman namin na bakit si consul general ang nilalayo ng gobyerno sa tao,” said Benjie
ConGen Torres said his understaffed office has served the most number of Filipinos in Canada for 2017, and he is very proud of all the work they have done for the past two years.(3)
“The thing is our life in the foreign service is like that — we have to come and go. That’s why I kept emphasizing to our community here that we are just passing through. The real work has to be done by the community here.”
Torres is set to retire in July next year after 39 years of service in the DFA.
There’s no official announcement on his replacement.