APRIL 7, 2018

Hawaii Welcomes New Consul General Joselito Jimeno

by Carlota ADER

Hawaii’s Filipino community held a warm welcoming reception for the new consul General Joselito A. Jimeno and his wife at the Philippine Consulate General Honolulu on March 23, 2018.

Jimeno said an assignment in Hawaii is highly coveted by many Philippine diplomats.

“Hawaii is a wonderful state. The picturesque topography, weather and friendly attitude of the people are the envy of my colleagues,” he said.  “Together with my staff, I look forward to meeting and working with all of you during my stint here in Honolulu.”

Over 300 guests greeted the new consul general, including state senators, State Rep. Ty Cullen, Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin, and Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine.  Leaders from 25 Filipino civic groups also welcomed Jimeno.

As the Philippine government’s chief executive in Hawaii, Jimeno’s mission is to lead the Consulate staff in advancing the interests of the Philippines and protecting the welfare of Filipinos residing in Hawaii and American Samoa.  He also will focus on strengthening cooperation in the areas of national and political security, culture, and education.

“We need to harness the energy and resources of the Filipino community for the greater good and to make Filipinos politically unified, and to be a positive economic force in Hawaii.”

Jimeno’s priorities as consul general include promoting foreign investment to the Philippines and helping to facilitate trade and commerce between the Philippines and Hawaii.  He also is spearheading efforts to renovate the Consulate and building a chancery to better serve the needs of the Filipino Community.

‘This building symbolizes the sweat, blood, and tears of the first Filipino immigrants to Hawaii.  We will be making major improvements to this property to invoke a sense of pride for all Filipinos in Hawaii,”said Jimeno.

Froebel Garcia, newly installed president of Gumil Hawaii supports the planned expansion of the Consulate.

“The consul general wants more participation from the over 200 Filipino organizations in Hawaii whenever there are community events held at the Consulate,” said Garcia.  “I admire him for his great vision.”

Another in the audience impressed with Jimeno, includes Al Gapuz, newly-elected president of Pillars of Bangui.

“We felt an immediate connection and camaraderie with him because of his pleasant and ambitious initiatives,” said Gapuz.  “He came across as someone who is warm, friendly, and approachable.”

Jimeno talked about his roots in Manila.

“There are a lot of Filipinos in Hawaii who are originally from Manila so it’s good to have that connection,” said Maggie Domingo, president emeritus of the Philippine Cultural Foundation.  “He really connected with us and we accept him as of one of our own.”

Jimeno officially assumed his duties on February 1st, but has since hit the ground running.  He has already met with visiting Philippine military officers, the Philippine media and local Filipino students, along with Gov. David Ige and Hawaii military officials.

The Philippine Consulate has already sponsored two outreach missions to Kauai in February and American Samoa earlier this month. Staff provided assistance with passport renewal, birth, marriage, notarial and dual citizenship services, and overseas absentee voter registration.

Jimeno has nearly three decades of foreign diplomatic experience, having served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Philippine Embassies in Berne, Switzerland (2015-2018) and Muscat, Oman (2011-2013); Consulate General in Guangzhou, China (2009-2011) and Consul General in Moscow, Russia  (2007-2009).  He has also held various posts at Philippine Embassies in Washington, DC, New York, and Berlin, and at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.

The reception was organized by the Philippine Celebration Coordinating Committee of Hawaii (PCCCH), assisted by Rev. Joe Lazo and Tina Lazo and various community leaders.  Food was in abundance and included four lechon and various delicacies donated by Flora Pasion, Henry and Lina Calderon, Manny Puga, Marina Pacobas, Cecilia Villafuerte, Mylene Reyes, Rose Galanto and PCCCH.

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