PH foreign post in NY hopes to resume consular ops by Monday: official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2022 01:31 PM

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MANILA – The Philippine Consulate General in New York hopes to resume its consular operations Monday after a number of its staff tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to virus patients, Consul-General Elmer Cato said Thursday.

“Halos kalahati sa'min dito sa konsulado are either positive or were exposed to those who were positive. And as a result, napilitan ho kaming i-suspend yung consular operations namin starting today,” he told TeleRadyo.

“We’re hoping everybody would be okay for us to be able to resume our operations by Monday,” he said.

Cato said there has been an uptick in new COVID-19 cases in New York.

“Nasa Green pa lang yung New York, but papunta na siya doon sa Yellow stage, parang medium risk. At hindi namin inaashan ‘to. We think tinamaan kasi for the past 9 days talagang nagtatrabaho yung mga kasama natin dito sa konsulado dahil may overseas voting tayo. Delayed yung pagdating ng ating mga balota mula sa Manila, so we were under pressure to really work hard,” he explained.

(New York is still under the Green category, but it is approaching the Yellow category, which is like medium risk category. And we didn't expect this. We think we were hit by the virus because for the past 9 days, we have been working hard because the ballots for overseas voting arrived late.)

“Kaya after office hours starting Monday last week, nag-o-overtime na po kami. 'Yung Holy Week break namin, hindi namin nakuha 'yan. 'Dire-diretso kami. So talagang puyat, pagod, kaya siguro tinablan na kami ng COVID variant dito,” he added.

(We worked ovetime starting last Monday. We didn't make use of our Holy Week break. We lacked sleep and were really tired, that's probably why we fell ill with COVID.)

Advisory of the Philippine Consulate General in New York on April 19, 2022.
Advisory of the Philippine Consulate General in New York on April 19, 2022.

Cato noted, however, that their voting operations are not affected by the suspension of consular operations.

“We already have sent out almost 70 percent (of ballots). So confident naman ho kami na mapapadala namin lahat ng balota to our kababayan here in the United States northeast before the end of the week,” he said.

--TeleRadyo, 21 April 2022

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