Sponsorship Speech for 5 Ambassadors, 51 Senior DFA Officers at the Commission on Appointments

Speeches

March 24, 2021 - 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 nominations of five (5) Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

The Committee likewise deliberated on the ad interim appointments of fifty-one (51) Senior Officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs consisting of six (6) Senior Officials who are promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class I; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class II; ten (10) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Career Minister; and, twenty-five (25) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Foreign Service Officer, Class I.

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 privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Generoso Calonge as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Iraq with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I.

Ambassador Calonge was an Army Officer who has held the rank of Major (Inactive Reserve) since 1998. He was later appointed as Commodore in the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Auxiliary Executive Squadron in January 2020. He is also a member of the Philippine Bar, a topnotch of the Career Minister Examinations in 1997, and third in rank in the Foreign Service Examinations in 1981.

In 2004, he was lauded as then Consul General in Dubai for having completed the rescue mission for the kidnapped Filipino diplomat and his three (3) companions in Afghanistan. As the Assistant Secretary for the Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office, he also successfully revived the Philippines-Japan Dialogue on Maritime and Ocean Affairs, reportedly the first maritime dialogue in six (6) years. In 2020, he was conferred with a Felipe Agoncillo Lifetime Service Award by the DFA for his substantial contribution to the advancement of Philippine interests in the global community.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Generoso Calonge as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Iraq 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 Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I.

Our subject nominee, dubbed as an “accidental diplomat,” only took the Foreign Service Officers’ (FSO) examinations to fulfill a promise to her elders but ended up topping the overall exams in 1994, and even ranked third in her Career Minister Examinations in 2007. She has served key roles in the DFA, including her post as the Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration, and as the concurrent Chairperson of the Board of Foreign Service Administration from May 2018 to April 2019. As the Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, she was credited for the successful conclusion of a long-awaited major bilateral economic initiative, that is, the establishment of a Philippines-Germany Joint Economic Committee (JEC) in August 2020.

Ambassador De Vega has rightfully earned her laurels including the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Dakilang Kasugo (Gold Distinction) in 2016, and the Medal of Civic Merit by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain in 2007.

Nonetheless, of the many feathers in her cap here and abroad, her best distinction remains to be as an outstanding diplomat who has helped forge and strengthen important bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Philippines, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Germany.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea, 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 Maria Lumen Banzon Isleta as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Sweden with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Finland with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I.

Our nominee started her public service career as an Economic Development Researcher and later, as a Senior Development Specialist at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). She joined the DFA in 1988 as the Director of the Economic Division and since then, climbed up the ladder to represent the Department in various important capacities. Ambassador Isleta has been distinctively known for her overseas diplomatic representations at the Philippine Embassies in Stockholm, Sweden; Vienna, Austria; Laos, and Indonesia, until her designation as the Assistant Secretary for American Affairs.

Among her honorable merits is her advocacy for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. As the Gender and Development (GAD) Secretariat in the DFA, her office has been on overdrive to push the concerns of women to the forefront. She has also actively participated in the drafting of Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, and the drawing up of its Implementing Rules and Regulations. In the international forum, she also actively participated in the meetings of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Maria Lumen Banzon Isleta as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Sweden with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Finland, with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, it is also my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Maria Elena Palo Algabre as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Turkey with concurrent jurisdiction over Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II.

Ambassador Algabre, an economist by profession, started her career in the Department in 1994 as an Executive Assistant at the Office of the Secretary. Only a year later, she ranked first in the FSO Examinations, topping both its written and oral components. She rose from the ranks and served diplomatic postings in the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Austria, and the Kingdom of Norway until her recent nomination.

Under her leadership as the Minister Deputy Head of Mission and Consul General of the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Norway, the Embassy was named one of the best organizations of the Department in 2018. Ambassador Algabre is highly regarded for her active promotion of Philippine art and culture in her foreign postings as exemplified by her key projects such as the 2015 Ballet Performance Tour in China that forged cultural exchange and the 2016 performance of the Leyte Dance Theater in Berne, Geneva, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw in appreciation of the foreign assistance of the countries in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

She has been entrusted with various sensitive positions in the DFA, particularly acknowledged for her effective monitoring and analysis of European Union policies and developments affecting the country. For her outstanding service as a diplomat, she was conferred with the prestigious Gawad Mabini-Dakilang Kasugo Award in 2007.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Maria Elena Palo Algabre as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Turkey with concurrent jurisdiction over Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, it is likewise my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Alan Lazaro Deniega as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh with concurrent jurisdiction over the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II. Our nominee held diplomatic postings in Tokyo, Japan; Singapore; and Brussels, Belgium until his current function in Ottawa, Canada.

Throughout his overseas postings, he has gained recognition for his worthwhile gains in foreign relations. As the Consul General and Minister to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore from 2011 to 2014, he was cited for improving consular services through the utilization of IT systems and overseeing various administrative concerns. He was also recognized as the Director of the Office of ASEAN Affairs from 2014 to 2015 for promoting a better understanding of the ASEAN community and economic integration. In his short stint as the Director of the Office of European Affairs, he ably supervised three divisions, which dealt with numerous member-countries.

As the Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Brussels from 2016 to 2019, he was credited for successfully managing and heading the post despite the absence of a Philippine envoy since 2016. Finally, in his current post as Consul General in Ottawa, he has served the interests of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians by efficiently managing the Embassy’s consular section.

To this end, Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honor to recommend that this body give its consent to the nomination of Ambassador Alan Lazaro Deniega as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh with concurrent jurisdiction over the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives with the rank and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class II.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

At this point, Mr. Chairman, I would also like to recommend to the Commission the confirmation of the ad interim appointments of the following officials to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class I.

  1. MR. VICENTE VIVENCIO TEJAMO BANDILLO
  2. MR. MEDARDO ANTONIO GONZALES MACARAIG
  3. MR. EDUARDO RAMOS MEÑEZ
  4. MS. IMELDA MACAPUNDAG PANOLONG
  5. MR. RALY LOFAMIA TEJADA
  6. MR. ALFONSO AGBAYANI VER

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I would also like to recommend to the Commission the confirmation of the ad interim appointments of the following officials to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class II.

  1. MS. GRACE T. CRUZ-FABELLA
  2. MR. ROBERTO GUTIERREZ MANALO
  3. MR. SENEN TIEMSIN MANGALILE
  4. MS. FLERIDA ANN CAMILLE PUZON MAYO
  5. MS. AILEEN S. MENDIOLA-RAU
  6. MS. EVANGELINE T. ONG JIMENEZ-DUCROCQ
  7. MS. JESUSA SUSANA VILLAR PAEZ
  8. MS. MARIA ANGELA ABRERA PONCE
  9. MR. ERIC GERARDO ESCARRILLA TAMAYO
  10. MR. PAUL VINCENT LUNA UY

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I likewise recommend to the Commission the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of the following senior officials to the rank of Career Ministers:

  1. MR. REGINALD SANGLE BERNABE
  2. MR. ROBERT ERIC ALABADO BORJE
  3. MS. LENNA EILLEEN C. DE DIOS-SISON
  4. MR. CHRISTIAN LUNA DE JESUS
  5. MS. MARIA ALNEE ARUGAY GAMBLE
  6. MR. ROUSSEL REMO REYES
  7. MR. JIM TITO BALGOS SAN AGUSTIN
  8. MR. HANS MOHAIMIN LIM SIRIBAN
  9. MR. ARMAN RACHO TALBO
  10. MR. KERWIN ORVILLE CASANO TATE

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I recommend to the Commission the confirmation of the ad interim appointments of the following senior officials to the rank of Foreign Service Officers, Class I:

  1. MR. RALPH VINCENT CLAR DE JESUS ABARQUEZ
  2. MS. RAPUNZEL AGLIPAY ACOP
  3. MR. NOMER BLEVENS ADO II
  4. MR. JAY FRANCIS GALINO ALCANTARA
  5. MS. MA. THERESA MILALLOS ALDERS
  6. MR. MELVIN CORDENILLO ALMONGUERA
  7. MS. JOHANN VERONICA MADULID ANDAL
  8. MR. DEAN JASON NEPOMUCENO ARRIOLA
  9. MS. THERESE RODRIGUEZ CANTADA
  10. MR. OLIVER CUTAMORA DELFIN
  11. MS. HELEN ANNE SAYO GAN
  12. MS. RIA EUGENIO GOROSPE
  13. MR. JOHN FRANCIS SOLANO HERRERA
  14. MS. IRISH KAY L. KALAW-ADO
  15. MS. KRISTINE MARGRET MENDIOLA MALANG
  16. MR. JIM GABRILLO MINGLANA
  17. MS. CARLYN ANDRINO MONASTRIAL
  18. MR. NORMAN ESCUETA PADALHIN
  19. MS. ANALYN DE LEON RATONEL
  20. MR. ROMMEL ARIMAN ROMATO
  21. MS. JOYLEEN ESPINOSA SANTOS
  22. MR. RODNEY JONAS LUCIDO SUMAGUE
  23. MR. MAURICE ARCAMO TIEMPO
  24. MR. ERIC PETALLANA VALENZUELA
  25. MR. DUKE APALISOK VILLANUEVA

I so move, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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