Ambassador Charles Jose (left) and Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) of Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud pose for a photograph after the courtesy call.

24 October 2017—As part of his visits around Malaysia since assuming his post as the Philippines’ envoy to the country, Ambassador Charles Jose visited Kuching, Sarawak on October 18 to 20 to pay a courtesy call on Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) of Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud and to meet with members of the Filipino community.

Ambassador Jose met with members of the Filipino community at a dinner at the Imperial Hotel on October 18 and paid a courtesy call on Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib in the morning of October 19 at the Astana Negeri (Governor’s office).

In his call on the Sarawak Governor, Ambassador Jose thanked him for the warm welcome accorded by the Sarawak Government, as well as for the support extended by the state government to the Embassy, and expressed hope for further partnership between the Philippines and Sarawak, especially with the revitalization of Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

For his part, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul noted that increasing importance of ASEAN and BIMP-EAGA for Sarawak, and praised the hard work and dedication of Filipino workers in the state, saying that the Philippines has a “deep pool” and “world-class” mid-range and highly-skilled workers. 

Around 25 members of the Filipino community in Kuching were present during the dinner meeting with the Ambassador.  Filipino community leader and Kuching-based engineer Justin Bersales assisted the Embassy in gathering the community members, composed of businessmen, engineers, architects, educators and service executives, among others.

In his speech, Ambassador Jose thanked those present, and highlighted the important role the Filipino community plays in their areas of work and residence.  He also thanked the Sarawak-based community for their support for the Embassy’s programs and assured them that the Embassy is working hard to provide assistance and support for them, especially on consular services.
The community members expressed their appreciation for the Ambassador’s visit to Sarawak and related their planned activities and the issues they face in the state.  For the past years, Kuching was visited by cultural groups such as the University of the Philippines Concert Chorus in 2012 and the Bayanihan National Dance Company in 2014 as part of their Malaysian tour, where they performed for the benefit of several charities in Sarawak. 

These activities have elevated the status and perception of Filipinos in Sarawak from being mere workers to contributing members. Other plans include cultural programs for Christmas and the Independence Day celebrations, and how they plan to continue helping Filipinos in distress.  END

(left photo) Ambassador Jose speaks before select members of the Filipino community in Kuching and joins them for a photo opportuning afterwards (right). Also present during the event was Madame Maria Victoria Jose (seated, third from right) and other Embassy officers and staff.