MANILA- Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella can help "effectively articulate" the foreign policy of the Duterte administration, Foreign Affairs Chief Alan Peter Cayetano said.
Cayetano on Friday welcomed Abella's appointment, saying the former presidential spokesperson will head the department's strategic communications.
"As head of strategic communications, which is among the duties he will be assigned to, Undersecretary Abella can be expected to help us more effectively articulate President Duterte's foreign policy and his directive to serve and protect the millions of kababayan OFWs we have abroad," Cayetano said in a statement.
Appointment papers released by Malacañang on Thursday showed Abella was appointed to the Department of Foreign Affairs last October 27, the same day President Rodrigo Duterte named Harry Roque as his new spokesperson.
Cayetano said Abella will be an "asset" to the DFA, and he expects that the latter will be able to help effectively deliver messages by the Philippines internationally.
The Philippines, under Duterte, has pursued what he calls an independent foreign policy, wherein the government has sought to lessen Manila’s dependence on Washington while fostering closer ties with other powers such as China and Russia.
Abella, a pastor who served as Duterte’s spokesperson for over a year, has been known for his calm demeanor and was instrumental in softening the impact of some of the President's controversial statements.
Robespierre L. Bolivar is currently the DFA spokesperson.