Philosophy alumnus is PH consul to Brunei

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SERVICE is a calling for Thomasian alumnus Melvin Almonguera, who has found fulfilment in helping Filipino workers abroad.
Almonguera, who graduated from the UST Faculty of Philosophy, takes on the dual task of being second secretary and consul at the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.

His job as second secretary entails assisting the ambassador to enhance bilateral relations between the Philippines and Brunei particularly in political cooperation and trade. As consul, Almonguera is tasked to aid OFWs in need.

“I issue visas to those who wish to visit our country and I also assist in catering to the needs of the Filipinos in Brunei. I sign notaries, act as civil registrar and even solemnize marriages between Filipino nationals,” Almonguera told the Varsitarian in an email.

“I provide assistance to Filipinos in distress, particularly those with legal predicaments. We assist them appropriately and we even provide lawyers to those who are facing serious charges,” he said.

Almonguera earned his degree in classical philosophy and licentiate in philosophy, magna cum laude and summa cum laude, respectively, from UST in 1999. In 2004, hegraduated cum laude with a master’s degree in philosophy from the UST Graduate School.

Almonguera worked as a teacher for a decade before he was thrust into public service.

At the suggestion of a friend, he took and passed the Foreign Service officer examination in 2008, which he prepared for on his own.
“While on self-review for the different stages of the examination, I learned more on diplomacy and consular affairs, which encouraged me further to pass the examination,” he said.

Experience, values

Almonguera began working at the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2009 and began to be deployed abroad not long after.

Among these assignments were South Korea during its military standoff with North Korea in Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010; Libya during the African country’s civil war in February 2011; and Afghanistan during the 2014 deployment ban.

“It was a learning experience to be part of a massive but coordinated government operation to secure the safety of OFWs in Libya,” he recounted.

Now, Almonguera and his family are based in Brunei.

Almongera said the UST Central Seminary instilled in himthe values that drive him to be in public service.

“In performing our tasks we should not aspire for personal fame. The aim should be the promotion of the country’s interests,” he said. “The spotlight should be directed at the Philippines and the Filipino.”

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