The veteran diplomat will helm the Consul General role that presides over 1.2 million Filipinos
EDGAR Badajos, the new Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, recently met with Filipino American media representatives to discuss a wide range of topics, including his plans to lead and streamline consular services for the region that is home to over 1.2 million Filipinos.
Badajos assumed his new role on Tuesday, April 6 after previously serving as the Philippine Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from February 2018 to April 2021.
“I’m very excited to work with our friends in the Filipino American media in serving the more than 1 million Filipinos under our jurisdiction, and in also promoting the economic, political and cultural interests of the Philippines in this part of the U.S.,” Badajos said during the virtual meet-in-greet on Tuesday, April 20.
Vaccine distribution to the Philippines is among the most pressing issues that Badajos inherited in his first few weeks as consul general.
Badajos said that he previously met with Ambassador of the Philippines to the United states Jose Manuel Romualdez to urge the U.S. government to “finally allow the release and export” of American manufactured vaccines to the Philippines.
On Monday, April 26, the Philippine Department of Health reported 8,929 new infections, bringing the total number of reported cases to 1,006,428 — including 16,853 cumulative deaths — since the beginning of the pandemic.
Currently, the Philippines is fighting one of the worst surges in the entire Southeast Asian region. Although the country’s vaccine campaign began on March 1, global supply has so far not met the intense demand over any of the publicly available vaccines.
“Filipinos back home are dying because of the shortage of vaccines, which is why we are desperately urging the U.S. government to direct the export of American-manufactured vaccines to the Philippines,” Badajos said.
Currently, six vaccines are currently available for public use in the Philippines, including those from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya Research Institute, Johnson & Johnson, and Bharat Biotech.
American pharmaceutical company Moderna on Monday, April 26 filed an application for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines.
Another issue that Badajos named as a priority for his office is combatting the spike in anti-Asian harassment and violence percolating across the U.S. The consul general assured that his office is “closely coordinating with local government agencies and law enforcement authorities” and urging them to “give priority action to acts of violence committed against any member of our community.”
“We’re also encouraging members of our community to be very vigilant, and to report any and all acts of violence committed against them or their neighborhoods or their property,” Badajos said.
The jurisdiction over which the Philippine Consulate General in LA oversees — including Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona — comprises more than 1.2 million Filipinos.
For decades, the office has been integral to Filipinos in the region, assisting in many capacities such as with immigration, travel, workplace support and promoting tourism and trade between the U.S. and the Philippines.
Badajos noted that youth outreach to second- and third-generation Filipino Americans who are interested in getting involved in U.S.-Philippine matters is another priority of his office, noting that these younger pinoys are “so eager, really, to help our country” and that “this is a big pool of talent that I think is still untapped.”
“I’d like to have a dialogue with them and listen to them [on] how they wish to be of greater help to the Philippine consulate,” Badajos told the Asian Journal. “For all the second- and third-generation Filipinos, watch out for future announcements from our office because we will have many activities that will involve you more extensively in nation-building and in the areas of promoting our culture, economic diplomacy and political diplomacy.”