Opening Statement of Senator Loren Legarda: Briefing by the Department of Foreign AffairsSeptember 30, 2022
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA
Committee on Finance, Sub-Committee “G”
Briefing by the Department of Foreign Affairs
Senator C.M. Recto Room and via Cisco Webex
30 September 2022
Our sincerest gratitude to the DFA. At the height of the pandemic, the Department worked tirelessly to ensure the safe return of our kababayans and with a vow to “leave no one behind,” the DFA repatriated over 461,263 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from all around the world. We applaud, of course, the Department’s efforts to promote the welfare of our OFWs, we also applaud its work to develop strong international ties and of course, the protection of the nation’s interests.
As we all know, it is a critical time for our country. Major challenges await us, including combating the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising to the challenge of the climate crisis, strengthening cultural diplomacy, and supporting global economic recovery, and facing all the issues of national security and regional security, as well. In an increasingly interconnected global landscape, it is imperative, now more than ever, that we strengthen our nation’s foreign relations. However, as you face these challenges, know that you are not alone.
I share your commitment to an independent and friendly foreign policy and your desire to forge productive alliances with other nations. As your former Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, I was always ready and willing to sponsor international agreements and treaties submitted to the Senate for concurrence. And as your former Chair of the Finance Committee, we always endeavored to ensure that the Department’s needs and requirements were met and provided.
So, today, as your Senior Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, we once again stand before you as an ally and as a friend. I have always been, and will always be, a partner of the DFA. Former Speaker and now Senator once again, Alan Cayetano, when he was DFA secretary, I think fondly called me the “ninang” of the DFA – even at the time of Secretary Teddy Locsin because really, it was during our time that… there are many challenges but we were able to provide the support for this, which the current Chair also does, Senator Angara.
Of course, it is important not only to project a stronger image in the international community for our country, but also to facilitate trade and commerce, and cultural, and diplomatic relations but also for meeting the needs of our kababayans here at home and abroad.
We need to work together if we are to strengthen the position of the Philippines in the international community. We must continue to work for progress, nation-building, and the faithful adherence to the pillars of Philippine foreign policy.