President Aquino lauds the DFA for its continuing efforts in promoting three pillars of PHL foreign policy

A July 26, 2012 press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs

President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for its continuing efforts in promoting the three pillars of Philippine Foreign policy as he graced its 114th Foundation Anniversary and its celebration of the 148th Birth Anniversary of Apolinario Mabini this morning at the DFA Main Building’s Bulwagang Apolinario Mabini in Pasay City.

The President was warmly received by officials and employees of the Department, led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, the undersecretaries and the assistant secretaries, the media and other guests.

Upon arrival, the President led a flower offering at the statue of Apolinario Mabini at the DFA building’s lobby with members of the Mabini family, led by his grandnephew, Primo Mabini Rodriguez, being present during the twin occasion.

In his address, President Aquino lauded the men and women of the DFA for their continuing efforts in promoting the country’s national security, strengthening economic and diplomatic relations, and ensuring the protection and welfare of Filipino nationals overseas.

In his remarks, President Aquino lauded the DFA for promoting the code of conduct in order to protect Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, including the country’s claim to the Benham Rise, which was recognized by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

 “Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa walang humpay na pagsisikap ng DFA sa pagtataguyod ng code of conduct upang pangalagaan ang ating karapatan sa West Philippine Sea, na kasalukuyang dahilan ng banggaan ng mga bansang umaangkin sa teritoryong saklaw nito. Malinaw po ang ating paninindigan: May mga teritoryo pong kailangang pag-usapan at pagpasyahan ang pagmamay-ari, at may mga lugar na hindi na dapat kuwestyunin dahil malinaw na teritoryo po natin ito. Sa lahat ng pagkakataon, bukas tayo sa mapayapang paglutas sa usaping ito nang naaayon sa batas at kasunduan ng mga bansa,” the President said.

He also commended the DFA’s contribution in combating poverty in the country saying, “Hindi rin matatawaran ang kontribusyon ng DFA sa pagsugpo ng kahirapan sa bansa. Tungkulin ninyong hikayatin ang pamumuhunan sa Pilipinas na lumilikha ng trabaho sa marami nating kababayan. Umaasa po ako sa sigasig ninyo na lalo pang ipagsigawang open for business under new management na tayo. Kaakibat rin nito ang pagpapalakas sa turismo ng bansa at patuloy na pagpapalusog sa ating ekonomiya.”

President Aquino also emphasized the efforts of the DFA and its Foreign Service Posts in protecting Filipinos overseas especially during crises.

Nagpupugay din po tayo sa mas epektibo at mas mabilis na pagtatrabaho ng DFA at ng ating mga embahada sa paglilikas ng libu-libong Pilipino na naiipit sa kaguluhan sa Gitnang Silangan at Hilagang Aprika,” the President said.

He highlighted the repatriation efforts spearheaded by the DFA for Filipinos in Libya. He explained: “Noon nga pong kasagsagan ng kaguluhansa Lebanon noong 2006, animnalibong OFW lamang ang nailikas sa loob ng tatlong buwan. Subalit noong 2011, sa nangyayaring sigalot sa Libya, mahigit sampung libo ang ating nailikas sa loob lamang ng isang buwan. Kahit ilang ulit pa tayong magpabalik-balik para sumaklolo at bigyan sila ng kaukulang suporta, tanging kaligtasan nila ang ating inalala.Ganitong bilis sa pagtugon at pagtulong din ang ipinapamalas natin sa paglilikas sa ating mga kababayan mula sa kaguluhan sa Syria, at sa patuloy na pagsugpo sa human at drug trafficking, at illegal recruitment.”

The President likewise expressed his support for the DFA’s Strategic Plan for 2012 to 2016 and commended Secretary del Rosario’s exemplary leadership of the agency.

He said: “Buo ang aking suporta sa inilatag ninyong DFA Strategic Plan 2012-2016 na naglalaman ng inyong mga adhikain at estratehiya upang mapabilis ang pagbabago sa inyong ahensya at paglilingkod sa Pilipino. Tiwala po tayong maisasakatuparan ang mga layuning ito samahusay na pamumuno ni Secretary Albert del Rosario. Tulad ni Mabini, buong talino at dedikasyon niyang isinasakatuparan ang mabuting pamamahala at pagmamalasakit sa kapwa; alam nating nangingibabaw ang makatwirang paninindigan sa kanyang pakikipag-uganayan sa iba’t ibang bansa.”

President Aquino also mentioned that currently there are 59 career diplomats as ambassadors, which is equivalent to 84 percent of the total number of ambassadors of the country.

The President explained that the appointment of these career diplomats as representatives of the country signifies his administration’s value for performance in the service.

Kaisa po natin si Secretary del Rosario sa pagtatalaga ng mga career diplomat na kinatawan ng ating bansa sa iba’t ibang panig ng daigdig. Itinalaga natin sila hindi dahil sa utang ng loob, palakasan o sa bulong ng kanilang padrino; pinagkatiwalaan natin sila sa kakayahan nilang isakatuparan ang ating agenda ng pagbabago, at ang lideratong tanging ang taumbayan ang ituturing nilang Boss,” President Aquino stated.

The President likewise congratulated the Gawad Mabini awardees in his speech, noting their contributions in promoting the country’s interests here and abroad.

For his part, Secretary del Rosario expressed that “with the myriad difficulties and challenges, we nevertheless believe that the men and women of the Foreign Service have the full capacity and competence to serve at all times as the first liners for our country.”

He likewise congratulated the awardees and said that “their legacy will serve as a great inspiration to all of us.”

A total of 18 recipients, both in the DFA’s Home Office and in its Foreign Service Posts, were conferred the Gawad Mabini. The Gawad Mabini is composed of three ranks, namely, the Grand Cross (Dakilang Kamanong), Commander (Dakilang Kasugo) and Member (Kasugo).The recipients of the Gawad Mabini this year are all career officials of the DFA.

The DFA was established on June 23, 1898 under President Emilio Aguinaldo’s administration. The DFA Foundation Day is traditionally celebrated every 23rd of June, following Presidential Proclamation No. 1717 dated February 24, 1978. However, to ensure that more officials and employees could join in the celebration, the DFA Day is being celebrated on a different date this year.

dfa.gov.ph