4.new.appointees

BAYANI MERCADO

 

Special to the Filipino Reporter

MANILA — Four of the 17 new all-career ambassadors by President Benigno Aquino III had served at one time or another at the Philippine Consulate in New York City and at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations.

They are Leslie Gatan (Canada), Cristina Ortega (France), Bayani Mercado (Norway) and Enrique Manalo (United Kingdom).

The appointment of career diplomats was received warmly by diplomatic observers, political pundits and officers and staff of Department of Foreign Affairs.

This is line with the President’s policy to have fewer political ambassadors in the foreign service.

Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also had wanted the fewest non-career appointees to head diplomatic missions.

The only exceptions — but who are highly qualified political choices — are Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia Jr., former Central Bank Governor, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan, and former Manila Electric Co. President.

There may be others from the private sectors to be named ambassadors in the future but they would not be as numerous as during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and two of her predecessors.

The other nominated ambassadors are Belen Anota (Australia), Victoria Bataclan (Belgium), Wilfredo Maximo (Cuba), Ma. Cleofe Natividad (Germany), Menardo Montealegre (Greece), Eleanor Jaucian (Hungary), Generoso Calonge (Israel), George Reyes (Mexico), Lourdes Morales (Netherlands), Virginia Benavidez (New Zealand), Eduardo Manuel (Poland) and Leslie Baja (Switzerland).

Ambassador Gatan previously served as deputy permanent representative to the UN.

Ambassador Mercado also served as deputy ambassador to the UN before being assigned as consul general to Guam where he served two tours of duty in Guam.

Mercado was also a consul at the Philippine Consulate in New York.

Ambassador Ortega and Manalo also had occupied ranking positions at the UN Mission.

Endorsing the appointments was the Union of Foreign Service Officers of the Philippines, or UNIFORS, is headed by President Jaime Victor Ledda.

“We welcome the nominations; They were an affirmation of Mr. Aquino’s support, trust and confidence in the career foreign service corps,” said Ledda.

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