Anchorage could be a new home for a Philippine Consulate, perhaps as early as the next few years, said Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.

Romualdez broke the news on Sunday in a town hall-style meeting with members of the Filipino community and U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan.

The two leaders briefly discussed the consulate prospects during a lunch-hour chat Monday hosted by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska World Affairs Council.

Romualdez said the closest Philippine Consulate General is in San Francisco, which often has to dispatch personnel to help members of the state’s Filipino community.

Romualdez said Alaska has about 30,000 residents who are of Filipino descent. He said the Philippines are looking to establish several consulates nationwide in coming years.

“I, as the ambassador, will recommend to our foreign affairs secretary to look into probably speed up opening more consulates here in the United States,” he said, “and I will recommend that Anchorage be one of them.”

Romualdez and Sullivan said the consulate also can help strengthen economic partnerships between Alaska and the Philippines.

Alaska has been looking to ship North Slope natural gas to the Kenai Peninsula for export to Asian countries. Most of the discussion has surrounded China, but Sullivan has said the Philippines should be part of those conversations as well.

“I think it’s great news; I think it's important news,” Sullivan said. “The fact that he’s up here making that news for us, for Alaska, it shows the importance of our state, not just the with regard to the large members of the Filipino-American community here, which is growing, but also our strategic importance.”

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco is holding an outreach mission in Anchorage from Aug. 30 to Aug. 31. More information is available online.

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