By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – During his first outing to the Philippine community through members of the press here, Consul General Claro Cristobal described that his leadership in the community will be inclusive, participative, cooperative, and results-oriented.
Cristobal started as head of post in New York and the northeastern seaboard on June 30, 2018. He had a long and substantive interaction with media practitioners here during his first ConGen Hour at the Kalayaan Hall on July 3, 2018.
“Diplomacy is best performed with all stakeholders. I will have an inclusive leadership, not to be dictating and won’t have a top-down trajectory. It will be participative and cooperative and will be results-oriented,” said Cristobal in describing his leadership.
He acknowledged the illustrious leadership of his predecessor Ma. Theresa Dizon de Vega and said he will continue the old programs. He however noted that he is not averse to start new things that fascinate the community. “I will try to work on Sundays if needed,” Cristobal said, citing that he’d like to believe that he is both a leader and manager.
Management, he added, is not just the task of one person but of many people. In certain cases, I will stay back and let (the staff) do the job, alluding to a leadership style of delegation and team work.
Before his current posting, Cristobal served as Director-General of the Foreign Service Institute since July 2, 2015. He also served in Egypt (2011-2015), Tokyo (2002-2007), and Hong Kong (2009-2011).
New York is not a new territory for Cristobal. His first mission here was in 1990 as Consul and was later assigned at the UN Mission in 1993 doing political work at the Security Council.
In 2002 until 2002, he was again assigned at the UN Mission at the Economic Council.
“This career never got me bored, whether at the UN, the investments board, in Tokyo or Hong Kong. Now I am back in New York, my first outing is facing the media,” he smiled.
Before embarking a career in foreign service, Cristobal was a lecturer in Economics at the Dela Salle University in Manila and finance manager at Cocomark.
“I never had a sense of what a diplomat is. I took Philosophy since I wanted to be a lawyer,” Cristobal recalled.
But his path to diplomacy was ushered in by a friend who asked for his help to review for the foreign service exams. It turned out that they reviewed the questions together and took the exams as well. He passed the exams and unfortunately his friend did not.
But because he was earning better in the private sector, he decided not to work for the government in 1983 when he was supposed to be admitted as vice consul. He thus lost his eligibility.
In 1986, he was again invited to the foreign service under the Aquino administration. “It seemed to be my second chance for this work. I did not prepare for this. But it seemed to me like this is something that my life has always been leading to,” Cristobal said.
As a representative of Philippine nationals, Cristobal said that the Consulate will provide assistance that will enpower nationals here.
“Wala po kaming tatangihan (we won’t deny help for anybody),” he emphasized, specifically in response on immigration assistance and information.
Cristobal said that education and information campaigns on immigration will be piggy-backing on the passport office so that people are informed of appropriate measures to take for the immigration status.
“Our information drive on immigration will be enlarged and included in our out-reach events,” he said, citing that immigration issues have always been an intense concern for many Filipinos.