Former journalist is now Philippine Consul General in New York

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NEW YORK—Journalist-diplomat Elmer G. Cato officially assumed on Tuesday, 30 March 2021, as the new Consul General of the Philippines in New York.

A career diplomat for the past 22 years, Consul General Cato had previously served in Libya as Chargé d’Affaires e.p. and Head of Mission at the Philippine Embassies in Baghdad and Tripoli. He succeeds Consul General Petronila P. Garcia who retired in January.

Consul General Cato was a journalist for 17 years and started as a 16-year-old cub reporter. He was also an overseas worker in Jeddah and Jakarta.
Before leaving Tripoli, Consul General Cato was honored by the Filipino Community for his role in looking after the more than 2,000 Filipinos during the recent conflict, the shutdown of oil production facilities, and the coronavirus pandemic.

He was presented with plaques of appreciation by the the leaders of the Overseas Filipino Workers in Benghazi; the Multisectoral Alliance of Filipino Migrants in Libya; the Filipino Community of Sirte Oil Corporation; the Katipunan Advisory Council; the Middle East and Africa Network of Filipino Diasporas; and the Filipino Community in Benghazi.

Consul General Cato was also earlier honored by Bishop George Bujeda, the Apostolic Vicar for Tripoli, for his faith in God and dedication to the Filipino Community.

Consul General Cato, who holds the rank of Chief of Mission Class II, joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1998 after passing the Foreign Service Officers Examination of 1996.

His first overseas posting was at the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations from 2003 to 2010 where he also served as a member of the Philippine Delegation to the UN Security Council from 2004 to 2005.
Consul General Cato was assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 2012 until he volunteered to go to Iraq where he served at the Embassy of the Philippines in Baghdad from 2015 to 2018.

At the Home Office, Consul General Cato served as Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and later for Strategic Communications from 2018 to 2019.

In 2010, Consul General Cato was designated Special Assistant for Special Projects at the Office of Administration; Director for Intelligence of the Intelligence and Security Unit under the Office of the Secretary; and Executive Director of the National Council on United Nations Peace Operations.

Consul General Cato served as Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. and Teofisto T. Guingona; spokesperson and Officer-in-Charge of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement; and as Officer in Charge of the Regional Consular Office in San Fernando and Clark Field,Pampanga.

Consul General Cato is a recipient of the Gawad Mabini, one of the highest awards the Government of the Philippines can bestow on Filipino diplomats, for initiating the public-private partnership that led to the transfer of consular offices to shopping malls across the country.