Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines)

Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines)
Department of Foreign Affairs
Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas
DFA Seal.png
Department overview
Formed June 23, 1898
Headquarters DFA Building, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Annual budget P10.984 billion (2011)
Department executive Albert del Rosario, Secretary

The Philippines' 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.




The Department of Foreign Affairs was created on June 23, 1898 through a decree of Emilio Aguinaldo, who appointed Apolinario Mabini as the Philippines’s first Secretary of Foreign Affairs. In effect, the DFA became the first government department to be established following the proclamation of the First Philippine Republic in Malolos City in Bulacan. Realizing the need for international recognition to support the legitimacy of his government, Aguinaldo assigned Mabini the difficult task of establishing diplomatic relations with friendly countries. Members of the Hong Kong Junta, a group of Filipino exiles in Hong Kong, served as the country’s envoys for this purpose.

Post-War Philippines

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. 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. 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 (RA) No. 708. 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 examination to professionalize the Foreign Service and improve the recruitment and selection of new FSOs.

Under Marcos

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 DFA 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

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, voting 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 into law R.A. 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 FSOs to the rank of Minister Counsellor, thereby ensuring the professional selection of those who would eventually rise to the level of career ambassadors.

Under Fidel V. Ramos

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.

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

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.

Offices of the Department

The DFA has eleven principal offices. The geographic offices manage political and economic relations in different regions and pursue Philippine interests in multilateral organizations, These include the following:

  • Office of American Affairs
  • Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs
  • Office of European Affairs
  • Office of Middle East and African Affairs
  • Office of ASEAN Affairs
  • Office of United Nations and International Organizations.

The line offices are the following:

  • Office of Personnel and Administrative Services
  • Office of Legal Affairs
  • Office of Consular Affairs
  • Office of Protocol and State Visits.

List of Philippine embassies

Country Location Ambassador[1]
Buenos Aires Rey A. Carandang
Canberra Belen F. Anota
Vienna Lourdes O. Yparraguirre
 Bahrain Manama Ma. Corazon Yap-Bahjin
 Sri Lanka
Dhaka Bahnarim A. Guinomla
 European Union
Brussels Victoria S. Bataclan
Brasilia Eva G. Betita
 Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Nestor Z. Ochoa
 Cambodia Phnom Penh Noe A. Wong
 Canada Ottawa Leslie B. Gatan
Santiago Ma. Consuelo Puyat-Reyes
 Hong Kong
 North Korea
Beijing Alex G. Chua, Chargé d' Affaires, a.i.
 Dominican Republic
Havana Wilfredo D.L. Maximo
 Czech Republic Prague Evelyn D. Austria-Garcia
Cairo Claro S. Cristobal
 Finland Helsinki Ma. Angelina M. Sta. Catalina
Paris Cristina G. Ortega
 Germany Berlin Ma. Cleofe R. Natividad
Athens Meynardo L.B. Montealegre
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Budapest Eleanor L. Jaucian
New Delhi Ronald B. Allarey
 Indonesia Jakarta Ma. Rosario C. Aguinaldo
 Iran Tehran Mariano A. Dumia, Chargé d' Affaires, a.i.
 Iraq Baghdad (main)
Amman (satellite)
Bayani V. Mangibin
 Ireland Dublin Ariel Y. Abadilla
 Israel Tel-Aviv Generoso D.G. Calonge
 Italy Rome Virgilio A. Reyes
 Japan Tokyo Manuel M. Lopez
 Jordan Amman Julius D. Torres
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Republic of the Congo
Nairobi Domingo D. Lucenario, Jr.
 Kuwait Kuwait City Shulan O. Primavera
 Laos Vientiane Ma. Lumen B. Isleta
 Lebanon Beirut Leah B. Ruiz
 Libya Tripoli Alejandrino A. Vicente
 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Jose Eduardo E. Malaya III
 Costa Rica
 El Salvador
Mexico City George B. Reyes
 Myanmar Yangon Ma. Hellen M. Barber
 Netherlands The Hague Lourdes G. Morales
 New Zealand
Wellington Virginia H. Benavidez
 Burkina Faso
 Cape Verde
 Central African Republic
 Côte d'Ivoire
 Equatorial Guinea
 São Tomé and Príncipe
 Sierra Leone
Abuja Nestor N. Padalhin
Oslo Bayani S. Mercado
 Oman Muscat Joselito A. Jimeno
Islamabad Jesus I. Yabes
 Federated States of Micronesia
 Marshall Islands
Koror Ramoncito S. Mariño
 Papua New Guinea
 Solomon Islands
Hohola Bienvenido V. Tejano
 Poland Warsaw Edgardo R. Manuel
 Portugal Lisbon Teresita V.G. Barsana
 Qatar Doha Crescente R. Relacion
 Romania Bucharest Maria Fe T. Pangilinan, Chargé d' Affaires, a.i.
Moscow Victor G. Garcia III
 Saudi Arabia
Riyadh Ezzedin H. Tago
 Singapore Singapore City Minda Calaguian-Cruz
 South Africa
Pretoria Constancio R. Vingno, Jr.
 South Korea Seoul Luis T. Cruz
Madrid Carlos C. Salinas
Stockholm Maria Zeneida Angara-Collinson
Bern Leslie J. Baja
 Syria Damascus Wilfredo R. Cuyugan
 Timor Leste Dili Ma. Aniceta Aileen H. Bugarin
 Thailand Bangkok Linglingay F. Lacanlale
Ankara Marilyn J. Alarilla
 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Grace R. Princesa
 United Kingdom London Enrique A. Manalo
 United Nations New York City Libran N. Cabactulan
 United States
 U.S. Virgin Islands
 Puerto Rico
Washington, D.C. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.
 Vatican City
 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Rome Mercedes Reinares-Arrastia Tuazon
 Venezuela Caracas Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia
 Vietnam Hanoi Jerril G. Santos

List of Philippine Consulates General

Country Location Consul General[2]
 Australia Sydney Anne Louis
 Canada Toronto Jesusa Paez
Vancouver Raly L. Tejada
 China Chongqing vacant
Guangzhou Joselito A. Jimeno
Hong Kong Claro S. Cristobal
Macau Renato L. Villapando
Shanghai Charles Jose
Xiamen Adelio Cruz
 Germany Frankfurt Ma. Cleofe R. Natividad
 Indonesia Manado Noel Servigon
 Italy Milan Lourdes Tabamo
 Japan Osaka Ma. Lourdes V. R. Lopez
 Saudi Arabia Jeddah Ezzedin H. Tago
 Spain Barcelona Eduardo Jose A. de Vega
 United Arab Emirates Dubai Benito B. Valeriano
 United States Los Angeles Mar Jo A. B. Aragon
San Francisco Marciano A. Paynor, Jr.
Saipan Medardo G. Macaraig
Hagåtña Bayani S. Mercado
Honolulu Leoncio R. Cardenas, Jr.
Chicago Leo H. Lim
New York City Mario De Leon

List of Secretaries/Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Name Term of Office President(s)/Government Served Under
Apolinario Mabini 1898–1900 Emilio Aguinaldo
Elpidio Quirino 1946–1948 Manuel Roxas
Joaquin Miguel Elizalde 1948–1950 Elpidio Quirino
Carlos P. Romulo 1950–1952 Elpidio Quirino
Joaquin Miguel Elizalde 1952–1953 Elpidio Quirino
Carlos P. Garcia 1953–1957 Ramon Magsaysay
Felixberto M. Serrano 1957–1961 Carlos P. Garcia
Emmanuel Pelaez 1961–1963 Diosdado Macapagal
Salvador P. López 1963 Diosdado Macapagal
Carlos P. Romulo 1963–1964 Diosdado Macapagal
Mauro Mendez 1964–1965 Diosdado Macapagal
Narciso Ramos 1965–1968 Ferdinand E. Marcos
Carlos P. Romulo 1968–1984 Ferdinand E. Marcos
Manuel Collantes* 1984 Ferdinand E. Marcos
Arturo M. Tolentino 1984–1985 Ferdinand E. Marcos
Pacifico A. Castro* 1985–1986 Ferdinand E. Marcos
Salvador Laurel 1986–1987 Corazon Aquino
Manuel Yan 1987 Corazon Aquino
Raul S. Manglapus 1987–1992 Corazon Aquino
Roberto Romulo 1992–1995 Fidel V. Ramos
Domingo Siazon, Jr. 1995–2001 Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada
Teofisto Guingona 2001–2002 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 2002 In concurrent capacity as President
Blas Ople 2002–2003 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Franklin Ebdalin* 2003 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 2003 In concurrent capacity as President
Delia Albert 2003–2004 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Alberto Romulo 2004– 2011 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III
Albert Del Rosario 2011-present Benigno Aquino III

(*) Acting Capacity


  1. ^ "Philippine Embassies". Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Philippine Consulates General". Retrieved 16 October 2010. 

External links

Coordinates: 14°32′48″N 120°59′30″E / 14.546736°N 120.991756°E / 14.546736; 120.991756

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