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‘Tastefully done:’ PHL chancery in the Netherlands renovated

CBRE Chief Operating Officer Irene Flotman (from left); Bishop Johannes Hendriks of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam who also conducted the blessing of the building; Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya; and Director Dominique Kuhling, chief of protocol of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

THE HAGUE—The newly renovated chancery of the Philippine Embassy in this Netherlands’ city was inaugurated on June 7 in ceremonies immediately preceding the embassy’s hosting of the Philippine Independence Day reception for members of the diplomatic corps, Dutch government officials, business owners and Filipino-Dutch community leaders.    

“Through this long-sought renovation, we have infused this heritage building with a fresh lease on life to continue with its legacy of being the center by which we further strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and the Netherlands,” said Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya at the special ceremony.

“This chancery will also [be] for Filipinos in the Netherlands the equivalent of their municipio or municipal hall, which we hope they can be proud of,” he added.

The three-tiered edifice with a basement was originally constructed between 1871 and 1872. It is classified as a heritage building under The Hague’s Monument Registry. The renovation was its first extensive one since the Philippine government acquired the property in 1968 during the term of former envoy Delfin Garcia.

The renovated chancery building features a large reception hall on the ground floor, which has a 60-person sitting capacity. It is an ideal venue for meetings and conferences; trade, tourism and art exhibits; as well as for cultural shows. The consular section has been restructured and enlarged to make the embassy’s consular operations and services more convenient for the public.

“We wish to convey our deep appreciation to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. for approving the funding of the renovation project, and to Assistant Secretary for Asset Management Medardo Macaraig for his encouragement and guidance,” Malaya noted.

“Tastefully done” was the general sentiment of those who graced the event, according to embassy officials. Funding for the project, they said, was made possible via the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Building Fund, as administered by the DFA Properties Committee.

“Congratulations, Ambassador Malaya on the festive reopening of your beautifully renovated chancery!” tweeted Max Valstar, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ South and Southeast Asia and Oceania division head, who witnessed the occasion.       

Malaya also commended Consul Marianne Bringas, Administrative Officer Marife Guibone, and other members of the renovation committee whose hard work and tireless efforts brought the endeavor into fruition, and expressed appreciation to the Hague City government’s Monumentenzorg or the Foundation for Historic Preservation, and CBRE for their productive collaboration on the project. 

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