Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines)

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Department of Foreign Affairs
Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas
Seal of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.svg
DFA Building, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.jpg
The Department of Foreign Affairs building along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay
Department overview
FormedJune 23, 1898
JurisdictionGovernment of the Philippines
Headquarters2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Philippines
14°32′48″N 120°59′31″E / 14.54680°N 120.99181°E / 14.54680; 120.99181Coordinates: 14°32′48″N 120°59′31″E / 14.54680°N 120.99181°E / 14.54680; 120.99181
Annual budget₱24.19 billion (2020)[1]
Department executive
Key document
  • Commonwealth Act No. 732[2]

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas) is the executive department of the Philippine government tasked to contribute to the enhancement of national security and the protection of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty, to participate in the national endeavor of sustaining development and enhancing the Philippines' competitive edge, to protect the rights and promote the welfare of Filipinos overseas and to mobilize them as partners in national development, to project a positive image of the Philippines, and to increase international understanding of Philippine culture for mutually-beneficial relations with other countries.


Post-War Philippines[edit]

During the period when the Philippines was a colony of the United States, the Government did not take an active role in the crafting and execution of its foreign policy. This was also the case during Japan's occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1944. The country regained full control of foreign affairs and diplomatic matters on July 4, 1946, when Commonwealth Act No. 732 was passed creating the Department of Foreign Affairs.[2] On September 16, President Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 18, which provided for the organization and operation of the DFA and the Foreign Service.[3] The main tasks of the DFA then were to assist in postwar rehabilitation, formulate policies for the promotion of investment, and re-establish diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

The DFA also proposed amendments to the Bell Trade Act, the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, and the Laurel-Langley Agreement with the United States, which helped to strengthen trade and military relations with the US, and at the same time initiating the Philippines into the arena of independent foreign policy.

The DFA had its heyday during the post-war years, with its increased participation in the international arena. At that time, the international environment was beginning to change, requiring that new thrusts and priorities in Philippine foreign policy be determined. During the Cold War, against the backdrop of the Korean War in 1950 and rising communism in China, the Philippines projected an increasing internationalist foreign policy. The Philippines helped forge the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT in 1949, became a founding member of the United Nations and one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was among the early proponents of disarmament and non-interference in the internal affairs of free peoples. The Philippines' greater participation in global matters culminated in Carlos P. Romulo’s election as the first Asian President of the UN General Assembly in 1952.

Realizing the importance of foreign relations, President Elpidio Quirino pushed for the passage of the Foreign Service Law in June 1952, as embodied in Republic Act No. 708.[4] During the post-war period, the Department of Foreign Affairs focused on institution-building, while simultaneously increasing Philippine global exposure. In 1953, Secretary Raul S. Manglapus instituted the Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) examination to professionalize the Foreign Service and improve the recruitment and selection of new FSOs.

Under Marcos[edit]

President Ferdinand Marcos redefined foreign policy as the protection of Philippine independence, territorial integrity and national dignity, and emphasized increased regional cooperation and collaboration. He placed great stress on being Asian and pursued a policy of constructive unity and co-existence with other Asian states, regardless of ideological persuasion. In 1967, the Philippines launched a new initiative to form a regional association with other Southeast Asian countries called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. It was also during this period that the Philippines normalized economic and diplomatic ties with socialist countries such as China and the USSR, which he visited in 1975 and 1976, respectively. The Philippines also opened embassies in the eastern bloc countries, and a separate mission to the European Common Market in Brussels.

Throughout the 1970s, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pursued the promotion of trade and investment, played an active role in hosting international meetings, and participated in the meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Foreign Service Institute was created in 1976 to provide in-house training to Foreign Service personnel.

Post-EDSA 1986[edit]

The 1986 EDSA Revolution saw the re-establishment of a democratic government under President Corazon Aquino. During this period, the DFA once again pursued development policy, in the active pursuit of opportunities abroad in the vital areas of trade, investment, finance, technology and aid. The DFA also revived its efforts to boost the Philippine's role in the Asia-Pacific region.

During this period, the Philippines became one of the founding members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC in November 1989, and an active player in regional efforts to establish the ASEAN Free Trade Area. In 1990, the DFA proposed the establishment of more diplomatic missions to the Middle East to improve existing ties with Arab states and to respond to the growing needs of Overseas Filipino Workers in the region.

In 1991, the Philippine Senate, heeding the growing nationalist sentiments among the public, voted against the extension of the Military Bases Agreement. This symbolized the severance of the political and ideological ties which had long linked the country to the United States. Also in 1991, President Aquino signed into law Republic Act 7157, otherwise known as the New Foreign Service Law, which reorganized and strengthened the Foreign Service. It instituted a Career Minister Eligibility Examination as a requirement for promotion of Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) to the rank of Minister Counsellor, thereby ensuring the professional selection of those who would eventually rise to the level of career ambassadors.[5]

Under Fidel V. Ramos[edit]

The Ramos administration from July 1992 to June 1998 defined four core areas of Philippine foreign policy: the enhancement of national security, promotion of economic diplomacy, protecting Overseas Filipino Workers and Filipino nationals abroad, the projection of a good image of the country abroad.

The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 provided the framework for stronger protection of Filipino workers abroad, with the creation of the Legal Assistance Fund and the Assistance-to-Nationals Fund, and the designation in the DFA of a Legal Assistant for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, with the rank of Undersecretary.[6]

Among the other significant events in foreign affairs during the Ramos years were the adoption by ASEAN in 1992, upon Philippine initiative, of the Declaration on the South China Sea, aimed at confidence-building and the avoidance of conflict among claimant states; the establishment of the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines (BIMP)-East Asia Growth area in 1994; the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 as the only multilateral security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region conducted at the government level, and the signing between the Philippine Government and the MNLF on September 2, 1996 of the Mindanao Peace Agreement.

Estrada Administration[edit]

The Estrada administration upheld the foreign policy thrusts of the previous administration, focusing on national security, economic diplomacy, assistance to nationals, and image-building. The Philippines continued to be at the forefront of the regional and multilateral arena. It successfully hosted the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1998 and undertook confidence-building measures with China over South China Sea issue through a meeting in March 1999. President Estrada strengthened bilateral ties with neighboring countries with visits to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

The DFA also played a major role in the forging of a Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, which was ratified in the Senate. The country also sent a delegation of 108 observers to the Indonesian parliamentary elections, and engaged in cooperative activities in the areas of security, defense, combating transnational crimes, economy, culture, and the protection of OFWs and Filipinos abroad.

Organizational structure[edit]

The Department is headed by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Philippines), with the following undersecretaries:

  • Undersecretary for Administration
  • Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns
  • Undersecretary for International Economic Relations
  • Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Undersecretary for Policy
  • Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research

Offices of the Department[edit]

The policy and geographic offices of the DFA manage political and economic relations in different regions and pursue Philippine interests in multilateral organizations. These include the following:

  • Office of International Economic Relations
  • Office of American Affairs
  • Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Office of European Affairs
  • Office of Middle East and African Affairs
  • Office of ASEAN Affairs
  • Office of United Nations and Other International Organizations
  • Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office

The DFA's line offices are the following:

  • Office of Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Office of Consular Affairs
  • Office of Strategic Communications and Research
  • Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs
  • Office of Policy Planning and Coordination
  • Office of Protocol
  • Office of Fiscal Management Services
  • Office of Asset Management and Support Services
  • Human Resource Management Office
  • Intelligence and Security Unit
  • Department Legislative Liaison Unit
  • Internal Audit Service

List of Philippine embassies[edit]

Countries in bold mean that the said diplomatic post is located within its territory.

Country Location Ambassador[7]
 Argentina Buenos Aires Linglingay F. Lacanlale
 Australia Canberra Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega
 Austria Vienna Maria Cleofe R. Natividad
 Bahrain Manama Alfonso A. Ver
 Bangladesh Dhaka Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo
 Sri Lanka
 Belgium Brussels Eduardo José A. de Vega
 European Union
 Brazil Brasilia Marichu B. Mauro
 Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Christopher B. Montero
 Cambodia Phnom Penh Myca Magnolia M. Fischer

Charge d'Affaires, a.i.

 Canada Ottawa Rodolfo D. Robles
 Chile Santiago Ma. Teresita C. Daza
 China Beijing José Santiago L. Sta. Romana
 North Korea
 Czech Republic Prague Ombra T. Jainal
 Denmark Copenhagen Leo M. Herrera-Lim
 Egypt Cairo Sulpicio M. Confiado
 France Paris Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro
 Germany Berlin Ma. Theresa D. De Vega
 Greece Athens Rosario P. Lemque
Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.
 North Macedonia
 Hungary Budapest Maria Fe T. Pangilinan
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 India New Delhi Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr.
 Indonesia Jakarta Lee Hiong T. Wee
 Iran Tehran Wilfredo C. Santos
 Iraq Baghdad Jomar T. Sadie

Chargé d'Affaires, e.p.

 Israel Tel Aviv Nathaniel G. Imperial
 Italy Rome Domingo P. Nolasco
 San Marino
 Japan Tokyo Jose C. Laurel V
 Jordan Amman Akmad A. Sakkam
 Kenya Nairobi Alex G. Chua
 South Sudan
 Kuwait Kuwait City Mohd. Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot
Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.
 Laos Vientiane Belinda M. Ante
 Lebanon Beirut Ajeet-Victor S. Panemanglor
Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.
 Libya Tripoli Elmer G. Cato
Chargé d'Affaires, e.p.
 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Charles C. José
 Mexico Mexico City Demetrio R. Tuason
 Costa Rica
 Dominican Republic
 El Salvador
 Morocco Rabat
 Myanmar Yangon Eduardo E. Kapunan Jr.
 Netherlands The Hague Jaime Victor B. Ledda
 New Zealand Wellington Jesús S. Domingo
Cook Islands Cook Islands
 Nigeria Abuja Shirley H. Vicario
 Burkina Faso
 Central African Republic
 Equatorial Guinea
 Ivory Coast
 Sierra Leone
 Norway Oslo Jocelyn B. Garcia
 Oman Muscat Imelda M. Panolong
 Pakistan Islamabad Daniel R. Espiritu
 Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Bienvenido V. Tejano
 Solomon Islands
 Poland Warsaw Leah B. Ruiz
 Portugal Lisbon Celia Anna M. Feria
 Cape Verde
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Qatar Doha Alan L. Timbayan
 Russia Moscow Carlos D. Sorreta
 Saudi Arabia Riyadh Adnan V. Alonto
 Singapore Singapore Joseph D. Yap
 South Africa Pretoria Joseph Gerard B. Angeles
 South Korea Seoul Noe A. Wong
 Spain Madrid Philippe J. Lhuillier
 Sweden Stockholm Raúl H. Dado, Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.
  Switzerland Bern Denis Y. Lepatan
 Syria Damascus Alex V. Lamadrid

Chargé d'Affaires, e.p.

 Timor Leste Dili Abdulmaid K. Muin
 Thailand Bangkok Mary Jo B. Aragon
 Turkey Ankara Raul S. Hernandez
 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Hjayceelyn M. Quintana
 United Kingdom London Antonio M. Lagdameo
 United States Washington, D.C. José Manuel G. Romualdez
 Antigua and Barbuda
 Federated States of Micronesia
 Marshall Islands
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
 Saint Lucia
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Trinidad and Tobago
  Vatican City Rome Grace R. Princesa
 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
 Vietnam Hanoi Paul Vincent L. Uy
Chargé d'Affaires, a.i.

List of Philippine Consulates General[edit]

Country Location Consul General[7]
 Australia Melbourne Anthony Mandap

Acting Head of Post

Sydney Ezzedin H. Tago
 Canada Calgary Zaldy B. Patron
Toronto Orontes V. Castro
Vancouver Maria Andrelita S. Austria
 China Chongqing Adrian G. Miras

Acting Head of Post

Guangzhou Marshall Louis M. Alferez
Hong Kong Raly L. Tejada
Macau Lilybeth R. Deapera
Shanghai Wilfredo R. Cuyugan
Xiamen Julius Caesar A. Flores
 Germany Frankfurt Evelyn D. Austria-Garcia
 Indonesia Manado Oscar G. Orcine
 Italy Milan Bernadette Therese C. Fernandez
 Japan Nagoya Jerome John O. Castro

Acting Head of Post

Osaka Ma. Aniceta Aileen H. Bugarin
 Saudi Arabia Jeddah Edgar B. Badajos
 Spain Barcelona[9]
 Turkey Istanbul[10] Lorena Joy P. Banagodos

Acting Head of Post

 United Arab Emirates Dubai Paul Raymund P. Cortes
 United States Hagåtña Marciano R. De Borja
Chicago Gina A. Jamoralin
Honolulu Joselito A. Jimeno
Houston Jerril G. Santos
Los Angeles Adelio Angelito S. Cruz
New York City Claro S. Cristobal
San Francisco Henry S. Bensurto Jr.

List of Philippine Permanent Missions[edit]

Country Location Permanent Representative[7]
Association of Southeast Asian Nations Association of Southeast Asian Nations Jakarta Noel Eugene Eusebio M. Servigon
United Nations United Nations Geneva Evan P. Garcia
New York City Enrique Manalo
World Trade Organization World Trade Organization Geneva Manuel Antonio J. Teehankee

List of the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs[edit]


  • "Foreign ministers L-R". Rulers. Retrieved April 14, 2006.
  1. ^ Aika Rey (January 8, 2020). "Where will the money go?". Rappler. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 732". Attorneys of the Philippines. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "Executive Order No. 18, s. 1946". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. September 16, 1946. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "REPUBLIC ACT NO. 708". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. June 5, 1952. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "Republic Act No. 7157". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. September 19, 1991. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "Republic Act No. 8042". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. June 7, 1995. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Our Foreign Service Post". Department of Foreign Affairs – Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Philippine Embassy in Libya". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links[edit]

  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Office website of the Office of Consular Affairs of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs