Enrique Manalo, the UN ambassador for Manila, was selected by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the nation’s next foreign affairs secretary, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
The late Philippine dictator’s son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was inaugurated in as president on Thursday after winning a resounding victory in the presidential election in May.
He has promised to write a new chapter in the history of the nation and declared that his administration will have its own foreign policy.
Manalo is a career diplomat who doubled as the department’s undersecretary before taking the position of Philippine permanent representative to the UN in New York.
“President Marcos appointed Secretary Manalo in view of his long and distinguished career in the Philippine Foreign Service and his vast experience in diplomacy,” the DFA said in a statement.
Marcos preferred a career diplomat to helm the department, the DFA said, so that the Philippines could “effectively advance its interests [on] the international stage in the face of formidable challenges.”
Manalo took his oath on Friday at the Manila presidential palace, but according to press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, he will need a few days “to wind up affairs in his previous post.”
According to Victor Andres Manhit, president of the Manila-based Stratbase ADR Institute, a research consultancy company, his selection is perceived as demonstrating Marcos’ intention to have an official who “really knows the external difficulties and prospects” faced by the Philippines.
“A senior career foreign service officer brings that to the office,” he said.
“I hope Secretary Manalo focuses on broadening our engagements and partnerships with countries that believe in a multipolar world and a rules-based international order.”
Manalo, whose career in foreign service began in 1979, also held the positions of Philippine ambassador to the UK and Belgium, as well as acting secretary of the DFA for two months in 2017.
The appointments commission of the Philippine House of Representatives must approve both his nomination and those of the other members of Marcos’ cabinet.