Wish Him Well!


I wish Him Well

As of today, the Philippine government or PNoy himself has not yet decided who among the list of  ambassadorial nominees will be given the portfolio to head the Philippine mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

As a blogger and an active member of the Filipino Community in the Kingdom I am concern about who would be our new Ambassador in the Kingdom and Yemen. We all knew that Yemen is now lurches into political unrest and violence day by day.  Yemen is a border away from Saudi Arabia.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about some points to consider that will be taken in revisiting the purpose of the mission in assessing the expertise, experiences, knowledge, education, and commitments  of the nominees based on the nominees career tracks. Yes of course, the Executive branch especially the President has the prerogative to appoint who among he believe capable of the job, it may be a party mate, a classmate,  a best friend, a long lost friend, a relative, a cousin outside from the rank of foreign service and perhaps one of his sisters. But surely the President have a good decision on who will be the next caretaker of our OFWs in the Kingdom based on his sound judgment by appointing a former Ambassador as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It is now in the hands of the Legislative Branch to confirm the appointment of DFA Secretary Alberto Del Rosario.

Congen Ezz Tago with Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In the absence of a permanent  COM – Chief of Mission in the Kingdom, Consul General Ezzedin Tago was assigned as Charge D’ Affaires of the Philippine Embassy not too long after the former Philippine Ambassador Antonio Villamor ended his tour of duty. 

Charge d’ Affaires Ezzedin H. Tago assumed as caretaker of our Philippine Embassy with primary difficult task, the issue of runaways and the usual OFW issues and concerns at work, like contract substitution, maltreatment and abuse. In his tenure as Consul General in Jeddah and Charge D’ Affaires of our Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, he is in-charge in the implementation for the repatriation of our Filipino overstayers in the Kingdom granted by the royal pardon issued by His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of September last year. Not to mention his remarkable work in repatriating hundreds of absconders in Jeddah, yet he was still criticized by some quarters with regards on how he handled the repatriation of absconders and runaways in the western region. Consul General Ezzedin Tago explained that the Consulate is just following the host country’s Saudi Immigration Laws which has tedious deportation process.

It is a public knowledge that the current Philippine Embassy Charge D’ Affaires Ezzedin Tago would likely return and back to his job as Philippine Consul General in Jeddah when a permanent Ambassador is appointed. At this early stage, it is just proper to thank him for his service and I wish him well.

A new Chief of Mission

Well, the Philippine government has recognized the importance of the Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia not only because we are 1.5 million in this country, but first and foremost the OFWs in this oil rich region are the secondlargest source of remittances in our country. And because of the OFW issues and concerns and our remittances, the Government and the Philippine mission itself continue to overlook the other reason why there are Philippine Embassies in every country in the world. Sad to say, that they fail to notice the other areas of cooperation, the major task our Philippine mission should undertake that will benefit both countries in the field of  commerce, agriculture, engineering, science and technology, and even cultural exchange. All of the mentioned areas which we can achieve through collaborative means between the two countries are covered by the umbrella Memorandum of Agreement on Economic,  Trade, Investment and Technical Cooperation signed in 1994 by two countries represented by then DFA Secretary Roberto R. Romulo and His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs.  But mainly, the Philippine government focuses only in the areas of manpower supply in exchange for dollar remittances. Of course, yes, both government and Filipino migrant workers as well, are grateful for that, but there must be more means of cooperation by which our relationship with other countries may anchor upon.

Philippine Consul General Ezzedin Tago with Filipino Community Leaders in Yemen discussing OFW contingengy plans.

We need someone that could lead the mission with a diplomatic expertise in Foreign Service that could promote friendly relations between the two nations as well as promoting our very own government foreign policies. A new Philippine Ambassador that can turn Saudi-PH relations into economically, politically,  and socio-culturally productive partnership.  A man with cultural and political understanding, a true liaison that can nurture the host country’s culture and political concerns in order to provide our own government with accurate assessments of any situations. And more importantly, a man with honor, a leader who is always there in time of needs and who is ultimately responsible for providing protection to OFWs in this country.

The current Philippine Consul General in Jeddah and presently designated as Charge D’ Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in the person of Ezzedin Tago is a career foreign service officer and just recently confirmed by the Commission on Appointments  to the rank of Career Minister.  He is a son of a former career diplomat from Lanao del Sur.  Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago assumed office in Jeddah on 22 December 2007 and has been with the Department of Foreign Affairs since 1995 holding office as Acting Director with the Office of Middle East and African Affairs (1996-1999).  

In 1988, he finished his secondary degree from the Philippine School in Jeddah  (formerly The International Philippine School in Jeddah). In September 1994, he graduated Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.  

DFA Secretary Alberto Del Rosario (center) during the meeting with FilCom in Yemen. (In the photo former Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia & Yemen, now DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Philippine Embassy CDA Ezz Tago.

In 1999, he was assigned in Riyadh as Vice Consul and Third Secretary that ended in 2003. He was then transferred to Jakarta, Indonesia as Consul and Second Secretary up to 2005.  He was also detailed to Baghdad, Iraq for 10 months in 2004-2005. He was posted back in Home Office, as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Special Concerns from 2005 to 2007. Consul General Ezzedin Tago speaks Arabic fluently.  

He is a recipient of the following awards/citations:  2007- The Order of Lakandula, Rank of Officer and, The Gawad Mabini, Rank of Commander.  Presidential Citation from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded on 19 June 2005 for role in the cases of two Filipino hostages in Iraq, Messrs. Angelo Dela Cruz and Robert Tarongoy. In December 2006, he received a Presidential Citation also from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for assisting in the repatriation of Filipinos in Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah Crisis in July 2006.

Perhaps, Consul General and Minister Counselor, Philippine Embassy Charge  D’  Affaires Ezzedin Tago could be the right man for the job as  Chief of the Philippine Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. – end (BongA)

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