New ambassadors should be responsive to OFWs
President Aquino received a lot of praise when he appointed a well-seasoned official to the country’s embassy in China last May. Indeed, Sonia Brady, 71-year old, was a career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who had already served a stint in China from 2006 to 2010. Unfortunately, Brady suffered a stroke recently.
According to Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who visited Brady in Beijing, the ambassador is getting better but remains in the hospital because she is still under observation and undergoing tests.
Del Rosario said the government may have to find a replacement for Brady. We have a good number of career envoys who are set to be deployed in foreign posts and just waiting for their appointments.
During the previous Arroyo term, career officials protested the left-and-right appointment of politicians, defeated candidates, friends of the former president and ex-generals to foreign posts. It caused widespread demoralization from their ranks.
There is a story of one political appointee who acted as if he was a king. He did not want to take commands because he was used to giving the commands himself, having several servants in the Philippines obeying his every order.
“Hindi ako ipinadala dito para lang sa mga tsimay ( I was not sent here only to take care of maids),” he was supposedly overheard saying. And because he had the privilege of bringing his family with him overseas, his wife reportedly also acted like a queen, while his children felt like they were princes and princesses. The buzz was that embassy personnel couldn’t focus on their jobs because they were busy taking care of the ambassador’s family.
Sen. Edgardo Angara also noted that some ambassadors can’t even speak the language of the country where they are assigned.
Under Republic Act No. 7157, known as the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991, the DFA has a mandate to implement three pillars of Philippine Foreign Policy: (1) Preservation and enhancement of national security (2) Promotion and attainment of economic security (3) Protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interest of Filipinos overseas.
For millions of overseas Filipino workers, the job of an ambassador is very critical.This is not a profession for laid-back and “pa-pogi” officials. It’s not enough that he or she has strong backing from the President or is personally close to other high officials. Many factors should be considered.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am. PTV 4, every Friday, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. & GMA News TV International, 3 times a week. Hotlines: 5357209/8819423/0920-968-4700. E-mail: [email protected]/[email protected]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.