Senators back Locsin’s appointment

(THE MANILA TIMES) SENATE President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday welcomed the appointment of former Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as special envoy to China for special concerns.

“I believe Amb. Teddyboy Locsin is perfect for that job. Being a former DFA (Department of Affairs) secretary, as well as the former ambassador to the United Nations, he has the expertise and experience in dealing with China,” Zubiri said in a statement.

“His familiarity with the leaders of China as well as their methods is what makes him perfect for the job. I wish him Godspeed,” he added.

Malacañang on Wednesday announced that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed Locsin as his special envoy to China for special concerns.

Marcos appointed Locsin as Philippine ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in September 2022.

Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Mary Grace Poe all commended Locsin’s appointment to the post.

“Given his experience as Department of Foreign Affairs secretary, lawyer and former legislator, I’m sure Ambassador Teddy Locsin could be the best one for the job as special envoy for special concerns,” Ejercito said in a statement.

“It is also a good timing as it is still important to keep lines open in the midst of the West Philippine Sea conflict,” Ejercito added.

Estrada said the decision was timely.

“It’s an interesting move by the President, I must say, as it came on the heels of a series of disturbing incidents in the West Philippine Sea involving the China Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard. Observers will be keenly watching how he will handle the complexities of his role and whether this will lead to positive developments insofar as our country’s relations with China is concerned,” he said.

Escudero lauded the President’s initiative to designate Locsin to handle issues with China, noting it is a sign of commitment to find and pursue peaceful ways of asserting the country’s rights and sovereignty in regard to the West Philippine Sea.

“Any action that promotes talks, dialogue or other peaceful means with the objective of achieving greater understanding, restraint and cooperation is always most welcome,” Escudero said.

“He (Locsin) is both competent and capable. But the most important qualification is that he enjoys the trust and confidence of the President who is the ‘chief architect’ of our country’s foreign policy,” he added.

Poe described Locsin as “an impressive and interesting choice” for the job.

“He is an adroit diplomat and skilled leader, unafraid to go to whatever lengths necessary for the best interest of the Filipinos,” she said.

“We hope he can help the country navigate through the rough waters of the West Philippine Sea to defend and protect what belongs to us,” Poe added. Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil, meanwhile, clarified that Locsin would remain as the country’s envoy to the UK.