By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
THE COMMISSION ON Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. as the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairperson of the CA committee on foreign affairs, sponsored the confirmation of Mr. Locsin to the appointments body.
“The appointee has distinguished himself with the credentials and qualifications befitting someone who should be at the helm of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Irrepressible, articulate, very independent minded and extraordinary prolific in writing,” he said in his sponsorship speech.
Prior to his DFA post, Mr. Locsin was the Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN). He attended Ateneo de Manila University and Harvard Law School.
He also served as a speechwriter to three Presidents, and was elected as Makati City representative from 2001 to 2010. Apart from public service, Mr. Locsin is also a veteran journalist, with a renowned career spanning five decades.
During his confirmation hearing, lawmakers raised the issue of the television report of broadcast firm GMA Network, Inc. whose news crew was driven away by Chinese Coast Guard off the coast of Zambales. The reported influx of Chinese workers were discussed as well.
Mr. Locsin said he prefers a tighter coordination between the two countries’ Coast Guards in response to the query of Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel if DFA would file a diplomatic protest on the incident with the television network.
“Maybe we need coast guard presence, a tighter coordination to avoid occasions that may escalate what is a conflicted one into an actual conflict,” he said.
As for the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines, the country’s top diplomat said that during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, he learned that China also intends to run after its citizens engaged in online gambling overseas.
“We’re going to be doing two things: One, online gambling is illegal, we’re going to stamp it out with the help and not against the objection of China because they too want to end it,” Mr. Locsin said.
“This is one of the areas where two law enforcement agencies will be able to coordinate without looking as if we had surrendered our sovereignty,” he added.