Manalo best man for DFA—Del Rosario
Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Tuesday recommended that acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo be appointed permanently given his career spanning nearly four decades.
Manalo, who replaced controversial Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. in an acting capacity, commands the respect of his peers at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and his counterparts in the global diplomatic community, Del Rosario said.
“Having worked with the acting secretary for five years, it is my belief that it would be in the best interest of our country if he would be considered for permanent appointment,” he said in a statement.
The Commission on Appointments rejected Yasay’s appointment over questions on his Filipino citizenship.
President Duterte had indicated that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was more needed in the Senate than in the DFA. Cayetano, Mr. Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 presidential elections, was reportedly considered for the top DFA post.
With Manalo at the helm, the DFA should be able to have a clear differentiation between promoting national security and enhancing economic diplomacy, Del Rosario said.
But promoting national security should be the main priority in view of China’s bold moves to bolster its claims on South China Sea, he said.
“Our northern neighbor, for example, should not be postured as a total solution to our economic well-being, especially to the diminished importance of a host of countries that have been traditionally assisting the Philippines to achieve significant economic growth over the past several years,” Del Rosario said.
“With the recent negative observations in the South China Sea and now Benham Rise, promoting national security, including protecting what is ours, must be paramount,” he added.
The DFA would know how to work closely with the Department of National Defense, the country’s treaty allies and partners to outline options for the President’s consideration, he pointed out.
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