President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday appointed a career diplomat, Enrique Manalo, as the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, replacing Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles confirmed that Marcos swore in Manalo, the Philippines’ permanent representative to the United Nations under the Duterte administration, at Malacañang—verifying a story the Manila Standard ran on Thursday about his impending appointment.
Angeles said Manalo asked for a few days to wind down affairs in his previous post.
Manalo’s career in the Philippine Foreign Service spans nearly four decades, joining the department in 1979.
He represented the Philippines as the chairman of various international meetings and conferences. He also served the DFA in various capacities before his first appointment as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in 2003.
Manalo also became the ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2016; non-resident ambassador to Ireland from 2013 to 2016; ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, and head of the Philippine Mission to the European Union from 2010 to 2011; and ambassador and permanent representative to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland from 2003 to 2007.
The incoming DFA chief’s other tours of duty leading up to his eventual appointment as head of a diplomatic mission included the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.
Manalo, who was undersecretary for policy at the DFA, is the first career diplomat to be appointed as DFA chief in nearly two decades after Delia Domingo Albert, the first female leader of the department.
Marcos said his administration would have an independent foreign policy and recognized that international partnerships were key to a stable region.
Marcos expressed confidence that Manalo was fit for the job.
The 69-year-old Manalo is a low-key but experienced diplomat who has dealt with diplomatic crises, including the South China Sea disputes.
Manalo also helped the negotiations for the trade deal between Manila and Europe, called Philippine-European Union Partnership Cooperation Agreement, from January 2009 to June 2010.
Before joining the Foreign Service, Manalo was a research assistant and later officer at the National Economic and Development Authority.
Marcos’ Cabinet appointments would have to be approved by the Commission on Appointments. With Mervin Vince Lopez