Above: (L-R) Ambassador Manalo, Lord Mayor Anita Ward and Chief Executive Stephen Hughes.
(Birmingham, 12 May 2012) – The Philippine Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Enrique Manalo, made a working visit to Bi
rmingham City on 11-12 May 2012. It was Ambassador Manalo’s first visit to Birmingham, which has one of the highest concentrations of Filipinos outside of London. The visit included meetings with local government officials and hospital executives, as well as a consular outreach activity for the Filipino community.
“As Britain’s ‘second city’, Birmingham is an important center for Britons and Filipinos alike. There is an abundance of potential for fertile partnerships in business, tourism and education. The Philippines has regularly attended the Birmingham International Spring Fair and the Birmingham Dive Show, both of which allows us to promote our trade and investment opportunities, and tourist attractions”, said Ambassador Manalo.
Ambassador Manalo also remarked that Birmingham has “a very active Filipino community, which has made huge contributions to the economy and the larger community as a whole.”
On the first day, Ambassador Manalo met with Lord Mayor Anita Ward and Chief Executive Stephen Hughes at the landmark Council House in the center of the city.
The two city officials said that Filipinos were “very friendly” and fit in well into Birmingham’s diverse community, which in turn allowed the city to become a “haven for innovation.”
Ambassador Manalo said the Embassy would be exploring possible linkages between the major universities and research institutions of Birmingham and the Philippines, especially in the areas of agriculture, information technology, engineering and medince.
Ambassador Manalo also met with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Chief Operating Officer Kevin Bolger. QEH is Britain’s newest and most modern hospital. It has 1,600 beds with over 7,000 staff.
Bolger praised the 1,000 Filipino nurses and support staff working at the hospital for being “exceptional [and] dedicated to their work” and “a credit to the Philippines.”
Bolger said that their Filipino employees have been “an integral part” of the hospital’s vision to provide top-notch quality of care.
The second day of the visit was reserved for the consular outreach activity, which was held inside QEH.
The University Hospitals Birmingham National Health Service Trust and members of the Filipino community in Birmingham assisted the Embassy team in ensuring the success of the outreach.
Leaders of the Kapatiran ng Migranteng Pilipino (KAMI-PINOY) and the Filipino Association in Birmingham (FAB) also met with the Embassy team. Both groups expressed support to the Embassy’s projects and programs and conveyed their desire to continue assisting distressed Filipinos in the UK.
Birmingham City is located in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom. It is considered the country’s “second city” for its population (at over a million the largest after London) and its economy (at GBP 90 Billion in GDP second only to London).
According to the latest estimates by local Filipino community leaders, there are some 14,000 Filipinos residing in the metropolitan Birmingham area. A considerable number of them work as medical staff in the city’s two largest hospitals. (END)