Public Service Center opens doors to Philippines outreach mission

Officials help citizens with voting, passports, other issues

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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The Clark County Public Service Center is doing double duty this weekend as a consular office for the Republic of the Philippines.

A few dozen people were lined up before 8 a.m. Friday at the Public Service Center for the start of a three-day outreach mission. A team from the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, including Consul Doy Ver, drove up to Vancouver to host the session, which may draw as many as 500 people.

The Friday session ran from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the Saturday session will also run 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Sunday session will run 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Organizers from the Filipino-American Association of Clark County were helping at the event, where people can renew Philippine passports and register to be an absentee voter and U.S. citizens born in the Philippines can be file for dual citizenship.

Births and marriages can also be registered through the Consulate General so they will be on record with the Philippine National Statistics Office.

On Friday, the sixth-floor commissioners’ hearing room and an adjacent meeting room were full of people waiting to have their paperwork reviewed.

Enrico Tadeo, a Vancouver immigration attorney, said

people had come from all over Oregon and Washington and as far away as Alaska because attending an outreach mission is less expensive than going to San Francisco.

In previous years, the annual outreach mission was in Portland, Tadeo said. Last year it was in a church.

“We found this venue, which is wonderful,” he said of the Public Service Center.

If the organizers wish to use the Public Service Center again, they will have to do so between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Under a policy effective May 1, noncounty-sponsored groups will not be able to use the building in evenings or on weekends, said Administrator Bill Barron.

The new policy was prompted by security concerns about nonemployees in the building during off-hours.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.