As Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes prepares to leave his post at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) pen note to the outgoing Philippine’s top government official in the emirate.
During his six years of service, Cortes assisted almost 680,000 Filipinos. He will leave his post in August after serving his countrymen during the most difficult time last year.
From 2016 to 2021, he facilitated the repatriation of over 1,000 distressed Filipinos. Under his leadership, the Consulate was also awarded by the Department of Foreign Affairs with the following accolades: Best Organization in 2017, Best Assistance-To-Nationals in 2018, One of the Best Performing Units in 2019. Cortes was also conferred by President Rodrigo Duterte the Gawad Mabini Award with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong (Grand Cross) in 2018 for his meritorious service.
Dr. Rex Venard Bacarra, campus academic head and director for administrative services at Southville-Ras Al Khaimah, took to Facebook to post a lengthy appreciation for Cortes.
He suggested that there is probably no Filipino Consul General, at least in his version of history, that is so well-supported, so well-defended, and so-well loved than Cortes.
“It is not because everyone likes him, but it is because most love him. It is not because he is accommodating, but it is because there is warmth in his accommodation. It is not because he doesn’t commit mistakes, but it is because his mistakes are punctuated with humility. His humble heart shines through against the pride of the many,” he wrote.
“He understands that for every decision he is about to make, not everyone is bound to agree. This is the burden of leadership: to decide what’s right for the majority and listen with patient understanding to the howls of the minority. The truth is, it is always the empty can that shouts angrily. It is always unreasonable that produces the loudest noise,” he further added.
The seasoned educator described the official as a ‘great man, a happy man, with an incredible intellect.’
“He is a great soul of matchless courage with a heart that keeps on giving– and when he leaves us sometime this year, we bow down symbolically in respect to his achievements and with utter regard to his incredible character,” Bacarra said.
Dubai-based Filipina Cathy Rivera said she couldn’t agree more with Bacarra’s note. She said that Cortes has a great soul of matchless courage with a heart that keeps on giving. “Love, like the fire in his heart, is unquenched. His mission, like the power of his will, is entrenched. Nothing disturbs the peace of a man who understands his purpose. One thing is certain, wherever ConGen will be, he will always awaken the desire of the people around him to do something,” she added.
OFW-based in Dubai Arlene Abe Pulido, on the other hand, said that Filipinos are blessed and grateful to have a father figure in Cortes. “I have personally experienced your untiring support and dedication to serving us during the Ateneo LSE days. Thank you so much for everything. We love you and take care always. Mabuhay ka Sir,” she said.