OF THE SPEECH OF
VICE PRESIDENT AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY
HIS EXCELLENCY TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR.
DURING THE 103RD FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
11 JULY 2001
Fellow workers, friends, this is a very auspicious occasion. We
celebrate the 103rd Anniversary of the founding of the Foreign Affairs
Department of the Republic of the Philippines. Apolinario Mabini
was the first foreign affairs secretary, the sublime paralytic who
with his vision planted the seeds of a real foreign policy that
is primarily nationalistic, free and dedicated to public service.
103 years after, we not only celebrate, but we also dedicate ourselves
to the concepts propounded by Apolinario Mabini and the foreign
affairs secretaries that succeeded him. In all these years that
have gone by we have endeavored to render better public service
to the people. We want to have swifter passport and visa availments
to the public. We would like to render vital services with the vision
and the theme of "Magkaisa tayo, Umunlad tayo!" for our
Overseas Filipino Workers. We will protect them as mandated by the
at the DFA will also empower them. OLAMWA has entered into a protocol
with the International Labor Organization or ILO to provide for
mechanisms so that our foreign workers abroad can communicate faster
with us, and be provided with bigger opportunities not only for
training, but also to become good savers so that their lives and
futures of their families here can be enhanced, and the betterment
of the nation achieved.
would also like to ask our ambassadors, our career ministers here
and abroad, to realize the vision of bigger public service and to
care for the Filipinos, documented or not, because they are Filipinos.
They are citizens of this land entitled to protection whether they
have papers or not. We should listen to their complaints no matter
how busy we are. You know, there are many who come to the office
asking for appointments. Sometimes they come even without appointments.
There are many who petition for help, and while we cannot attend
to them all, we have to listen to them all. A problem may seem meaningless
to the ambassador or to the boss upstairs, but to that man who goes
to the embassy for assistance, it may mean the whole difference.
It may mean his whole fortune. It may be a very vital issue, one
of extreme importance to him. And so let us prepare ourselves to
render better services for the benefit of the nation.
return, I pledge to you that I will work for the benefit of the
officials and the rank and file of the Department of Foreign Affairs
to the best of my ability. We have initiated the Provident Fund.
I understand it is already in its initial stages. We are reviewing
the imbalance in pay scales between our office and other offices.
When the salary standardization law was passed, the budget was accordingly
made based on rank, and the ranks assigned to the foreign affairs
department were different from the ranks in other agencies of government.
For instance, the salary of a director here is not the same as the
salary of a director in other government agencies. An assistant
secretary in the DFA, who holds the rank of ambassador, does not
get the same pay as an assistant secretary in other agencies. In
the beginning, we were advised to just accept this, and ask for
corrections later but I don't know what happened. There were no
corrections made, and so now we should make the corrections. And
if time permits, I will mention it when we have no less than the
president of the land here with us later on.
will also have a housing project for the DFA personnel. And if possible,
we are going to have a housing program for the Overseas Filipino
Workers. We have to plan it well because they are contractual, in
the sense that their contract of employment is for three years,
four years, two years. And we must provide for a fund so that the
continuity of the payments for the installments will not be disrupted.
But all of these things and all of these benefits we will put together
and what is more is that we must try to restore the respect of the
international community, not only for the officials and personnel
of the DFA, but also for our Overseas Filipino Workers.
in the United States there are job advertisements which say preferably
Filipinos. In the Middle East, there was an article which
states, if you want a job done, hire a Filipino. And in Canada,
in America, in Europe, and in other places Filipina nurses are in
demand. Why? Because they do their job with a smile, with charm,
with grace, with the real purpose of helping to ease the patients
pain, without looking at the clock, without minding the overtime,
really trying to cure the patient and comforting him in his time
of crisis. And that is why Filipino nurses are in demand. And that
is why we are fighting for these Filipino nurses. The ASEAN is saying
that Filipino nurses and other members of other vocations and professions
should be treated as such, and should be paid accordingly regardless
of the number of years of education as long as they have the diploma,
as long as they are accredited by an institution such as the Department
of Education. Even if a nurse has only had twelve years of education,
she should be paid accordingly. Nurses of other nations are paid
more just because they have 14 years of education. Twelve years
is quality. The twelve is where grace, dedication, and service
with a smile come in, and therefore they should be paid accordingly.
And so for all of these, we shall endeavor, as I've said, to redirect
and rededicate ourselves because the celebration today not only
means we will have festivities but also dedication coming from the
rededicate ourselves to public service, and to the lofty ideals
of the foreign service. To pursue the nationalism of Apolinario
Mabini and other successors of the foreign secretary of old. And
I would like to pass on to you this poem, to strengthen the moral,
the fiber of the Department of Foreign Affairs. We would like to
quote the poem and prayer which says and I quote:
in the battle that goes on through life, I ask for a field that
is fair; A chance that is equal with all in strife, and the courage
to strive and to dare. If I should win, let it be by the code, with
my faith and my honor held high, but if I should lose, let me stand
by the road and cheer as the winner goes by.
http://www.dfa.gov.ph/archive/anniv103/ttg103.htm - April
featured in HFC website are original texts as originally published
in their respective sources. No word has been edited in any way.]