Four Philippine envoys have been confirmed by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
As chairman of the CA’s committee on foreign affairs, Senator Panfilo Lacson endorsed for confirmation on Wednesday the nominations of the following officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA):
- Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Norway with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Iceland, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Finland, and the Kingdom of Sweden.
- Dennis Yap-Lepatan as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Switzerland with concurrent jurisdiction over the Principality of Liechtenstein.
- Eduardo Jose de Vega as the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Commission of the European Communities and the Council of the European Union.
- Demetrio Remedios Tuason as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United Mexican States, with concurrent jurisdiction over Belize, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Republic of El Salvador, the Republic of Guatemala, the Republic of Honduras, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Panama, the Dominican Republic, and the Republic of Cuba.
“Your committee, after deliberating on their qualifications and fitness during the public hearing, determined that they are fit and qualified to be in their posts where they are nominated and therefore ruled to recommend to the plenary their appointments for the consent of the body,” Lacson said.
The senator added Batoon-Garcia, who has been in the foreign service for 37 years, has been highly credited for her efforts in strengthening the political, cultural and economic relations of the Philippines with other countries.
“This includes the First Ambassador’s/Consuls-General Tour in the Philippines in 2005, which was participated in by 500 Filipino-American tourists; consular outreach missions in the Caribbean territories that had not been previously visited by any consular team; and the year-long Centennial Celebration of the Philippine Independence in the U.S., which was esteemed as the longest and biggest celebration of the Philippine history abroad since 1904,” he said.
Lepatan, on the other hand, was assigned as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations for more than seven years prior to his current appointment.
Among Lepatan’s many “meritorious dossiers,” Lacson said, the “most distinct was his “service reputation on account of his integrity and unblemished service record in his 36 long years in the Department.”
“He is well-respected among his colleagues who regard him as an excellent team player, a good planner, and a decisive leader,” said the senator.
Lacson also credited De Vega for doing the groundwork in clarifying provisions in the Visiting Forces Agreement, specifically in the detention of US servicemen in the Philippines while he was the Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs of DFA.
“More recently, in his capacity as the Ambassador to the United Mexican States, he established the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Mexico City, which raised the profile of Philippine exports, reportedly resulting in a high of 32.8% growth rate in 2016,” he said.
“His records would tell us that he has the penchant for intense debates, having been an eloquent public speaker, speechwriter, and orator. Between you and me, I do not mind if he ‘speak a mile a minute,’ as long as he does service to our country.”
In endorsing Tuason’s nomination, Lacson cited his accomplishments as a businessman particularly during his stint as Chairman Emeritus of Armscor Global Defense, Inc.
“Under his leadership, he was able to transform the company into the leading Philippine arms manufacturer and exporter specializing in affordable firearms. In fact, Armscor firearms and ammunitions are now being exported to over 60 countries on six continents,” the senator said.
Lacson said Tuason is also admired for his “philanthropic work.” /jpv