(Photo courtesy of DFA)

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday welcomed the appointment of seasoned career diplomat Enrique A. Manalo as its new chief.

Manalo, who succeeded former Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., was warmly welcomed by ranking officials and employees at the agency.

He arrived at the DFA in Pasay around 1:30 pm after he was sworn into office by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacanan Palace in the morning.

One of his first tasks was to join Marcos in receiving Korea’s Special Envoy to the Presidential Inauguration, Rep. Kweon Seong Dong, on Friday, according to Philippine Ambassador to Korea Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega.

Manalo has been at the forefront in addressing several critical issues on foreign policy and has handled multilateral and bilateral work over the years.

He was the Philippines' Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York before he assumed office.

Prior to that, he worked as Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy and also served as Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary from March 9 to May 17, 2017.

READ: New DFA chief named

Manalo's career in the Philippine Foreign Service spans nearly four decades since he joined the DFA in 1979.

In a 2020 interview, he described his work at the DFA as challenging but at the same time "rewarding".

"I've been at the DFA for many years so I've done all the work that you would expect the DFA officer to do, so I've done both multilateral and bilateral work over the years," he shared.

"I've been in the DFA for forty years so certainly I found it very challenging (but) also very rewarding and of course sometimes you have your own disappointments so I would say it's been a combination of all of them but on the whole I found it rewarding," he said.

Some of his colleagues took to social media to congratulate him on his appointment as DFA chief, calling him an excellent choice to fill the role.

Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo said Manalo is the "best choice" among the career foreign service.

"Congratulations to our new Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo-- the best choice among the Career Foreign Service. Will be proud & honored to work with him! Maraming salamat po President BBM (Bongbong Marcos)," he said.

Philippine Consul General in New York Elmer Cato, likewise, said the veteran diplomat is the "most perfect choice" and that the agency is in "good hands" with him at the helm.

"The men and women of the Philippine Consulate General in New York join the rest of the Foreign Service of the Republic of the Philippines in thanking H.E. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for entrusting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to one of our own—Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo—a veteran career diplomat who can be expected to advance the interests of the Philippines and the Filipino people in the world community," he said. (PNA)