I join the men and women of the Philippine Consulate General in New York in conveying our wishes for a happy, peaceful, and meaningful holiday season to all our compatriots and friends in the Filipino-American Community in the United States Northeast Region.
As we close this year we can look back on the significant strides made by the Philippines and our own community in the US Northeast.
Under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the country is vigorously pursuing a path of peace-building, transparent governance, peace and order, and sustained economic growth.
On the economic front, the Philippines notched record economic figures with a 7.1% GDP growth in the third quarter of this year with expectations for yet another strong performance by the close of 2016. To date, the Philippines is the fastest growing economy in Asia.
Working closely with the Filipino-American Community, our other Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United States, and various advocacy groups, we witnessed the historic passage by the US Congress of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 in recognition of the sacrifices of our veterans.
The Filipino-American presence will be felt even more strongly in various aspects of governance in the Northeast Region in the coming year with the appointments and election of some of our community members to public office.
In the US Northeast, the Consulate General continued to receive the invaluable support, involvement, and assistance of the Community for flagship projects in political advocacy, economic diplomacy, cultural and public diplomacy, people-to-people exchanges, sectoral engagements, and in our frontline services.
As the Philippines prepares to take on the enormous responsibility and honor of Chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2017, which also marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s establishment, we are poised to take on a more instrumental role in regional developments.
We look forward to even more active engagement of the Filipino-American Community in the coming year as we work towards genuine change and the realization of our common aspirations.
Isang Maligayang Pasko at Makabuluhang Bagong Taon!
MA. THERESA DIZON-DE VEGA
New York, December 2016