MANILA, Philippines - Hundreds of Filipinos in Stockholm commemorated the 26th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution last weekend their own "People Power"-style protest against the impending closure of the Philippine embassy in Sweden.
Filipinos in Sweden protest against the impending closure of the embassy.
After a mass at Sweden's oldest Catholic church Sta. Eugenia on Saturday, the Filipino community braved sub-zero temperatures to march to the Philippine embassy. They were demanding the retention of the embassy in Sweden.
Flori Tuazon, spokesperson of the 13,000-strong Filipino community in Sweden, handed a signed petition to embassy officials. Filipinos, who are from all over Sweden, are opposing the decision to close the Philippine embassy.
In their petition addressed to President Aquino, they said "the Filipino community has never been consulted of such a life-changing decision."
They questioned why Sweden was selected to be closed instead of other Philippine embassies in Europe, where there are only a small number of Filipinos, negligible investments and few tourists going to the Philippines.
"Sweden is one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. Compared with other European countries, particularly Eastern Europe, there are more Filipinos residing in Sweden based on official statistics. Furthermore, net cumulative investments from Sweden reached P172 billion from 2006-2010 and imports $146 million worth of good from the Philippines, which is significantly higher than most countries in Eastern Europe," they said.
They also noted Sweden is one of the strongest economies in Europe and more employment opportunities for Filipinos.
"Yung mga nawalan ng trabaho sa Greece, Spain at Italy ay dito pumupunta sa Sweden dahil nandirito and oportunidad tapos ito pa ang pinapasara ng gobyerno," a Filipino said.
There are reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered the closure of 10 embassies and consulates, such as those in Ireland, Finland, Romania, Palau, Saipan, Frankfurt and Barcelona, as part of the government's cost-cutting measures.