MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio as new ambassador to China, the DFA said in a statement.
In its statement, the DFA noted that Basilio, who also served as Philippine Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and Sweden, would also be entitled to concurrent jurisdiction over Korea and Mongolia as the new envoy to China.
President Benigno Aquino III had earlier said his appointment of a senior diplomat to the post showed Manila’s resolve to achieve a peaceful solution to its territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
Basilio’s appointment comes at a time of heightened tensions in the disputes, with the Philippines expressing concern over Beijing’s reported new maritime rules that authorized its border police to board, search and expel foreign vessels that enter what it considers its waters.
Zhang Hua, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Manila, had earlier expressed China’s optimism over Basilio’s nomination, saying that it hoped that the “early appointment of the new ambassador may facilitate the communication between both sides and the development of our bilateral relations.”
Aside from Basilio, the DFA noted that the following had also been granted their appointments as new ambassadors:
Elizabeth Buensuceso, DFA’s Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, as new Ambassador to the Philippine Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Alex Chua, who served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, as new Ambassador to Myanmar.
Sahid Galang, who served as Consul General and Chargé d’ Affaires also in Bahrain, as new Ambassador to Bahrain.
Domingo Lucenario, who served as ambassador to Kenya, as the new Ambassador to Pakistan.
Lamberto Monsanto, senior special assistant at the DFA’s office of the Undersecretary for Policy, as the new ambassador to Kenya.
The DFA, in its statement, also noted that the CA confirmed the promotion of Leandro Lachica, currently Special Assistant at the DFA’s office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, to Foreign Service Officer, Class I.