Sponsorship Speech for Ambassadors Leslie Baja and Raymond Balatbat; and FSO II Leandro Manantan at the Commission on Appointments

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Commission on Appointments, this Representation as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, presided over a public hearing this morning to deliberate on the nomination of two (2) Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and one (1) Foreign Service Officer Class II of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Your Committee, after deliberating on their qualifications and fitness during the public hearing, determined that they are fit and qualified to be in the posts where they are nominated and appointed and therefore ruled to recommend to the plenary their appointments for the consent and approval of this body.

Mr. Chairman, it is my honor and privilege to recommend that the Commission give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Leslie Junio Baja. Our subject nominee joined the Foreign Service in 1986. He consequently served key roles overseas for diplomatic missions in Egypt, Berlin, Germany, Athens, Greece, Switzerland and Liechtenstein until his recent nomination.

During his post as the Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt from August to September 2018, he ably assisted about 10,000 Filipinos in the countries under his jurisdiction, particularly, in the case of missing seafarers in Eritrea, which reportedly required close coordination with Eritrean authorities.

Ambassador Baja also aided in establishing the Philippine presence in Ethiopia for his significant role in the establishment of the honorary consulate of the Philippines in Addis Ababa. In 2013, he worked on the passage of the Compensation Act for Human Rights Victims as the Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the appointment of Ambassador LESLIE JUNIO BAJA as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Morocco with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Guinea, Republic of Mali, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Republic of Senegal, with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, it is my honor and privilege to recommend that the Commission give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Raymond BalatbatΒ as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Lebanese Republic with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II.

Before his stint at the DFA, our nominee was a legislative researcher and writer who even worked as a budget analyst at the Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) from 1992 to 1993.

He joined the Foreign Service in 1997 and has since held key roles at the home office and overseas, including stints at the Philippine Embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia; Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Brunei Darussalam.

For his various accomplishments and exemplary work in the Department, Ambassador Balatbat was conferred Gawad Mabini, Rank of Commander in 2007.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the appointment of Ambassador RAYMOND BALATBAT as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Lebanese Republic, with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I also recommend to the Commission the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Mr. LEANDRO LUIZ SOLIVEN MANANTAN to the rank of Foreign Service Officer, Class II.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

*****