The Philippine Embassy in Madrid launched a mobile application or app called eFILIPINAS during the 3rd National Congress of Filipino Community Leaders in Spain and Andorra held in Madrid on 16 November 2019.
The app, a brainchild of Philippine Ambassador to Spain Philippe J. Lhuillier, is a freeware program dedicated to Filipinos visiting and living in Spain and Andorra.
The app is the first of its kind in the Philippine foreign service and offers a host of consular services with step-by-step instructions on how to obtain them as well as a directory of all Philippine missions in Spain and Andorra, among other features.
“In my two decades of service as Ambassador of the Philippines to different countries, I have always sought to give our hardworking Filipinos, particularly those in Spain and Andorra, quality service and a sense of home for our Filipino residents or tourists,” said the Ambassador.
This app will also provide our kababayans with urgent assistance for matters concerning security and other related concerns. Police and emergency hotlines are also accessible through the app for quick response.
In addition, the app has an interactive consulate locator where the user’s location can be entered manually. The locator has map pins of consular offices in Spain and Andorra and a search option showing the user’s current location for enhanced experience.
Adding to the rich information base that this app builds is the availability of an RSS feed which features news from Spain, Andorra, and the Philippines. The feed pulls information from news sites in real-time for users.
Filipinos in Spain and Andorra are also kept up-to-date with a digital community notice board where alerts for nationwide or city-wide holidays are posted as well as travel advisories, consular outreach schedules, and other pertinent updates. Push notifications will also be enabled for any upcoming consular missions and Embassy events that they may want to join.
Another highlight of the application is the overseas Filipino worker or OFW Corner, a section that features various services that address employment and contract verification concerns, as well as Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) benefits for accredited members.
The eFILIPINAS app is now entering its third phase of development where a community wall and a meeting place for app users will be introduced; this feature will include a chat room for real-time and easier connectivity, as well as a bulletin board for announcements that users may want to post; polls and surveys that will surface the collective opinions of Filipinos in Spain and Andorra; and lastly, a Rizal Tour in Madrid through an audio guide that will help its audience retrace the steps of our national hero in Madrid.
In the near future, the application will be equipped with interactive and transactional features that will enable OFWs in Spain and Andorra to submit requirements for application to the Embassy, a strengthened messaging service as well as financial service capabilities such as money transfers, foreign exchange rates, e-Commerce, and e-Banking.
The app is envisioned to be a one-stop service app for the Filipino and bring convenience to their fingertips, thereby effectively bringing solutions to their problems.
“With the success of this app in the distant future, we hope that we may encourage more embassies to follow suit,” said Ambassador Lhuillier.
The app is now ready for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.