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Locsin appointed next DFA chief

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UN PHOTO/KIM HAUGHTON

By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter

PERMANENT Representative to the United Nations (UN) Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. is the next Foreign Affairs Secretary.

At a press conference in Bali, Indonesia on Friday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he has asked Mr. Locsin if he could succeed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who will run for Taguig representative in the 2019 midterm elections.

“I don’t know if I have to… I do not have his permission. Mahirap kasi (It’s difficult because) if I give out his name tapos tatanggapin niya (then he’ll take it). Bong (referring to Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence T. Go), tawagan mo nga si Teddy Boy Locsin, sabihin mo kung pwede bang i-mention niya pangalan dito? Okay raw sabi niya (call Teddy Boy Locsin and ask him if I can mention his name here? It’s okay, he said),” Mr. Duterte said.




Responding to inquiries on Twitter on Friday, Mr. Locsin said, “I was asked I said yes.”

Mr. Locsin, a lawyer and veteran journalist, was press secretary and speechwriter of President Corazon C. Aquino. He also served as Makati representative from 2001 to 2010.

Mr. Cayetano said he believes Mr. Locsin will do a better job as the country’s top diplomat. He also urged the department’s personnel to support the next Secretary.

“I truly believe in my replacement, Ambassador Teddy or Teddyboy Locsin. I know him personally. I’ve worked with him in Congress. Hindi kami pareho parati ng pag-iisip. May mga issues na magkaiba kami pero (We don’t always think similarly. There are issues where we differ but) he listens,” he said in his farewell speech during flag ceremonies at the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) ASEAN office.

“He’s done a good job in the United Nations. On Monday, I will sit down with him. We’ll brief him on all the reforms. I think he will even do a better job than I did but he needs your support,” he added.

Mr. Cayetano also noted the reforms introduced in the DFA on his watch, which included the launching of the e-payment system, the Passport on Wheels program, and the portal for first-time Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and the additional consular offices nationwide.

For her part, Senator Loren B. Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations, welcomed Mr. Locsin’s appointment as DFA secretary.

“His stint as Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations seemed to have foreshadowed his appointment as the country’s top diplomat. I am certain he will not waver in protecting our people and our nation’s interests,” she said in a statement.

“As Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, I will work with him in advancing the Philippines’ diplomatic relations with other nations and upholding the four pillars of Philippine foreign policy,” she added.