Legarda Bats for Strengthened Technical Cooperation with Other Nations

August 28, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Foreign Relations, today urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to continue strengthening technical cooperation with other nations.

During the briefing on the proposed 2019 budget of the DFA worth Php27.5 billion, Legarda asked the Department to check which countries the Philippines has technical cooperation agreements with and if these have been carried out.

“Technical cooperation with other nations is good diplomacy. This exchange of ideas and knowledge benefits both the nations that are in agreement,” she stressed.

For instance, there is good opportunity for agriculture and trade in Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, the Philippines, which is known for having good laws such as in disaster and climate change resilience, can lend help to other countries, like Timor Leste, in terms of legislation.

The proposed 2019 budget of the Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines (TCCP) under the DFA is Php3.68 million.

Meanwhile, Legarda also stressed the importance of the Philippine government’s presence abroad through foreign service posts.

To date, there are 85 Philippine foreign service posts—60 Philippine Embassies, 21 Philippine Consulates General, and four Permanent Missions—based in 60 countries.  Three posts will be opened this year and the DFA hopes to open or reopen 14 more posts next year.

“I believe in promoting our Philippine image and presence abroad. It is but imperative to open more posts, especially where we have an increased number of Filipino workers,” said Legarda.

In line with this, the Senator also said that it is also important for foreign service officers to learn more foreign languages for better discourse with their counterparts in their area of service.

“Learning a new language opens us to new experiences and makes us understand other cultures better. It is our gateway to new ideas, new perspectives, and new horizons,” she stressed.

Legarda said that for this year, there is Php20 million under the Foreign Service Institute for language training courses. Moreover, there is also Php30 million budget this year for scholarships that can be availed of by foreign service officers for courses offered both in the Philippines and overseas.

“These courses and language classes are made available for all government employees to access. We should make the most out of these scholarships and language courses. Learning is indeed a lifelong experience,” she added.

“All these efforts are aimed towards ensuring that the DFA is able to effectively implement the pillars of foreign policy, namely, preservation of national security, attainment of economic security, protection of the rights of OFWs and the promotion of Philippine culture,” Legarda concluded.