FSI’s Consular Assistants’ Course to Improve Delivery of Consular Services

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted the Consular Assistants’ Course (CAC) Batch 02-2020 online from 10 to 24 August 2020. The Course was designed for foreign service personnel handling consular duties and/or will be assigned in the future to perform consular work in the Home Office and at Foreign Service Posts.

Twenty-six (26) DFA personnel participated in CAC Batch 02, which was conducted through synchronous sessions via Google Meet. Seven (7) of these personnel were from the Department’s Consular Offices (COs) in Cebu, General Santos, San Pablo, Butuan, San Nicolas, NCR West, and Mindanao.

Online modality has allowed FSI’s training programs to be more accessible to DFA personnel based in COs, including those based in regional offices. The Course was still able to organize class activities, which are usually conducted in traditional face-to-face learning, through the technical tools offered by the Institute’s online platform.

FSI’s training team utilized the features of Google Meet for the writing workshops, group presentations, and breakout sessions of the participants.

The Course’s Resource Persons, most of whom were from the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs, provided an overview of consular services and covered relevant discussions on consular matters, such as authentication, consular records (civil registration), visa, and passport. They also briefed participants on the duties and responsibilities of Consular Assistants, particularly the notarization of documents and legal services.  

Panel presenters from various government agencies—the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System, Pag-IBIG, and the Land Bank of the Philippines—discussed their agencies’ programs for Overseas Filipino Workers and specific roles in the processing of overseas labor documents.

One Resource Person commended the efforts of FSI’s training team and noted that he enjoyed giving his online lecture for the Course. The participants, meanwhile, appreciated the Course’s online activities and also recommended a virtual consular premises tour to enhance their learning experience.

Personnel who perform consular work represent the DFA before the general public in the Home Office and at Posts. They render frontline services and cater to the needs of Filipinos and foreign nationals in the Philippines and overseas. Hence, regular training for these personnel helps develop their skills and knowledge to better serve the Department’s clients.

The Institute continues to explore more innovative online learning methodologies to include practical and first-hand consular exercises that will allow participants to apply skills learned from the Course.

Participants of the Consular Assistants’ Course Batch 02’s virtual class picture with DFA-OCA Passport Director Ms. Maria Alnee Gamble (fifth row, second from left), one of the Resource Persons for this Course.