Senator Loren Legarda on Monday commended the men and women of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for their passion and dedication to foster good relations with other countries and strengthen the country’s position in the international community.
“Foremost, I wish to commend each and every one present today, for in one way or another, you have so faithfully adhered to implementing the four pillars of Philippine foreign policy, namely, the preservation and enhancement of national security, the promotion and attainment of economic security, the protection of the rights and the promotion of the interest of all Filipinos overseas, and the promotion of cultural diplomacy,” Legarda said during the 120th foundation anniversary celebrations of the DFA.
She especially lauded Philippine diplomats and other “comrades in the foreign service” and called them “our silent heroes” who work with much passion and dedication and who do not ask for fame or glory.
Noting the changing times where norms and rules are being constantly challenged, Legarda highlighted the need for a Philippine foreign policy that must be flexible, and yet ensures that the country’s interests are upheld and protected.
“Thus, it is important to foster and develop good bilateral relations with our neighbors, and with other countries, most especially in terms of political security issues and in terms of economic development,” she said.
“Our country cannot live on its own. In this age of globalization, the Philippines needs to cultivate and develop its relations and work closely with the community of nations on issues of mutual concern, such as climate change, human rights, health, among many others,” Legarda said.
Meanwhile, Legarda, the concurrent chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and on Finance, assured her continuous support to the DFA.
Legarda cited her constant readiness and willingness to sponsor international agreements and treaties submitted to the Senate for concurrence, having taken up 31 treaties since 2015 under her watch as foreign affairs committee chair.
She said that as finance committee chair, she has also made sure that the DFA’s needs and requirements have been met and provided.
“For this year alone, your Department has received an increase in PHP783.4 million in its budget for the implementation of these pillars,” Legarda said.
She said that Congress has also funded the opening and re-opening of new diplomatic posts, and will continue to fund such next year, to cater to the needs of our countrymen abroad.
Additional budget was also provided for the promotion of Filipino culture through the promotion of Philippine studies abroad.
“The Philippines cannot strengthen its position in the international community if we all do not work together. Together, we stand for what is Filipino. Let us strive and continue to work for progress, for freedom, for nation building, for greatness,” Legarda said. DFA