Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Young SU alumna heads RP's Hong Kong Consulate

One of the youngest “head-of-post” among Philippine government stations abroad, Kira Danganan-Azucena, is an alumna of Silliman University.
Kira Danganan, as she was known in Silliman, is acting consul general of the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong.
Still in her mid-thirties, Kira is already holds the position of Deputy Consul General .
She weathered a hailstorm of controversy this week when a Hong Kong magazine columnist wrote derogatory article about Filipinos being a “nation of servants.”
Credit has to go to Kira Danganan for successfully handling the controversy.
She diffused a simmering stream of outbursts from many agitated Filipinos that could have potentially disturbed the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong.
It was her first real test on delicate diplomacy as head-of-post.
I think she passed with flying colors.
It was a feat for Ms. Danganan because the incident resulted in the magazine and the writer extending an apology.
Hopefully the issue should end there.
No need to escalate the tensions because the Philippines and Hong Kong have long enjoyed a symbiotic partnership that has benefited our people and theirs.
I had a meeting with Ms. Kira Danganan at the Philippine consulate the 14th floor of the United Center Building at Queensway Hong Kong early this week.
Also present was Vice consul Val T. Roque.
I had wanted to make a follow through with Ms. Danganan about a plan of Philippine-based lawyers extending free legal assistance to overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.
Expectedly, the problem of Filipino workers overseas deals with the huge social costs of physical absence from the family.
The numerous legal problems are those that deal with family and domestic affairs, the consul officials told me.
What pre-occupied the meeting, however, was the “civil disturbance” caused by Chip Tsao, the Hong Kong writer that drove consul officials in a continued state of annoyance.
It was the first time I heard of the incident, and Kira said the news is all over and many Filipinos are fuming.
She handed me a copy of the controversial article published on March 27.
“We’re going to make a statement,” Kira said.
The statement goes:

It is unfortunate that such an article could be published in a city that prides itself as a progressive society, that has achieved milestones in multicultural harmony, and whose very character is defined by the presence of people from all corners of the globe.
The image of racism that Mr. Tsao portrayed in his column has demeaned the members of his own household and the more than 127,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong as household service workers. Their contributions to Hong Kong's achievements are undeniable. Their work is a noble and dignified one.
While Mr. Tsao may have intended his column to be a piece of satire, he has miserably miscalculated in this endeavour. Fortunately, his views are not shared by the larger society in Hong Kong.
Mr. Tsao and Asia City Publishing Group owe the Filipino community in Hong Kong a formal apology for the grave disrespect they have shown.
Despite this unfortunate incident, the long-standing friendship and mutual respect being enjoyed by the Filipino community and the Hong Kong society will remain.

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