Veteran diplomat appointed foreign affairs chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has picked seasoned career diplomat Enrique Manalo as the new secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles confirmed on Friday.

Manalo, who served as Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York under former President Rodrigo Duterte, will succeed DFA chief Teodoro Locsin Jr. But Angeles said Manalo requested for a few more days before he assumes office to "wind up affairs in his previous post."

Manalo was appointed as DFA Undersecretary for Policy under the administrations of Presidents Duterte and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He also briefly worked as acting DFA secretary after ad interim Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Over the course of his four-decade career at the DFA, he served as the Philippines' ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Belgium and Luxemburg.

The 69-year-old Manalo, who retired from the foreign service in 2018, is the first career diplomat to be appointed to the post in nearly two decades. He is the son of two distinguished former Philippine ambassadors.

Ahead of the announcement, US Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez applauded the selection of the country's top diplomat, whom he did not name.

"We will have a foreign affairs secretary who is a career diplomat — a very able one as a matter of fact. I'm really looking forward," he told CNN Philippines.