Hard work is Auxilian’s passport to success

Hard work pays off.

This has been shown by Consul General Edgar Tomas “Gary” Q. Auxilian of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Holding the rank of Chief of Mission ll, he has been confirmed as ambassador by the Philippine Senate’s Commission on Appointments. He will likely be the country’s Ambassador to Papua New Guinea.  

For those who have watched him in action or worked with him, he will be a loss in Jeddah but a gain in PNG.

During the time we have been referring cases to him, he has acted fast. No case is too severe or too minor for his attention.

He applies himself with dedication to solving cases.

An example of a serious case was that of Joenel Andres de la Cruz, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was rushed comatose to Dr. Soliman Abdul Qadir Faqih Hospital in Jeddah in August 2023.

Rafael E. Seguis, a retired foreign service officer, referred the case to Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Undersecretary and officer-in-charge Hans Leo J. Cacdac and the Antique-born Auxilian who said, “We’ll check on his current status.”

Auxilian suggested that if Dela Cruz could travel, “it’s better to send him directly home so that his family could take care of him in the Philippines.”

But, as the OFW’s repatriation was being worked out, the police and Jawazat (Immigration Division) found out he had been imprisoned earlier for a drug case.

Penalty for the first offense of a drug user could be imprisonment, lashing, a fine, or all three. For a repeat offender, punishment is increased and could even result in a death sentence.

Dela Cruz was left in the custody of the Migrant Workers Office (MWO), and Auxilian said medication would be provided for de la Cruz’s recovery from coma.

Auxilian acted on a minor case involving three OFWs in Tabuk, northwestern Saudi Arabia. The OFWs, Kim Dador, Ian Lansang Sarmiento, and Earl Carandang, worked in a salon.

On Nov. 10, 2023, they sent a text message asking to be rescued because of maltreatment by the Saudi salon owner and Moroccan manager.

On the same day, Auxilian endorsed the case to Labor Attaché Roel B. Martin of the MWO, formerly the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Martin, a University of Santo Tomas law graduate, was with the mission from the Consulate to render consular services in Tabuk. He’s head of the MWO, which covers OFWs in Jeddah and other areas in the western region.

Martin convinced the three workers to stay in their jobs. He told the Saudi salon owner and Moroccan manager that the OFWs would be pulled out if they continued maltreating them.

The case was solved on the same day. The three OFWs kept their jobs and continued contributing to the country’s foreign reserves.

Auxilian does not only assist OFWs or promote the interests of the Philippines in the Kingdom, particularly in Jeddah, called the “Bride of the Red Sea.”

A cruise at the Bosphorous Strait in Istanbul as part of a family vacation.

He also obliges personal requests.

My former neighbor in Quezon City, Rose Erediano Boll, now a resident of Franklin, Tennessee, United States, wanted to bring relatives working in Jeddah to the US.

She asked me to find out and provide her with the requirements.

From 8,589 kilometers away in the east, I sent Auxilian a text message asking for the requirements. He replied immediately.

While I appreciated the speed with which he acted on my request and his willingness to oblige, I felt a sense of shame because of the effort and time he took to oblige.

He said, “They need to apply for visas. They can check with the US Consulate or Embassy website to learn how to apply. Second, they have to apply for exit visas from Saudi Arabia. I hope all their records are clean . . . They can check their Absher through their CP (cell phones). They need clearance from the Saudi police; for this, they need some endorsement certification from the Consulate.”

Absher is a smartphone application and web portal that allows Saudi Arabian citizens and residents to access various government services.

On a personal note, I noticed how respectful he was to the people he dealt with, including the OFWs he served.

Auxilian was a good student. He was an entrance scholar at the  University of the Philippines Visayas in 1980. He transferred to UP Diliman (Quezon City) in 1982, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1984.

He also studied for a Master of Public  Administration degree at UP Diliman and almost completed the course, but he got a scholarship to study in Germany. He finished his Master of Administrative Sciences at the Post Graduate School of Administrative Sciences in Speyer, Germany.

He was posted in Kenya and other countries.

Auxilian is married to Maria Vita Ecalnir, a medical doctor. They have two grown-up daughters: Mary Elizabeth Janina and Sofia Marie Vanessa.

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