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Noy: Almendras capable of handling DFA

LIPA CITY, Philippines – President Aquino believes Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras is capable of handling the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Like former DFA chief Albert del Rosario, whose resignation took effect on March 7, Almendras was in the private sector before he joined the Aquino administration – first as energy secretary and then Cabinet secretary.

“Isn’t it that as Cabinet secretary he functions like a troubleshooter? He had been through a lot, the ports, et cetera,” Aquino said.

The President noted that Almendras was one of those who played a big part in resolving the country’s disagreement with Hong Kong after the Manila hostage crisis.

Almendras was also instrumental in ironing out economic relations with Taiwan after the Philippine Coast Guard’s shooting of Taiwanese fishermen in Balintang Channel, Aquino said.

Aquino said the people were not aware of these efforts by Almendras.

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“He was with me most of the time in my foreign engagements. He was able to help Secretary Del Rosario in his job at the DFA,” Aquino said.

The President said he appointed Almendras to the DFA because “he has, of course, my utmost trust and confidence. He has proven his skills in so many different fora.”

Aquino said he had taken full advantage of Almendras’ cooperation and concern from the beginning until now that he has little more than 100 days left in office.

“It will be difficult to get somebody to go through all of the hardship in this post, with the expectation that he will only do it for 113 days,” the President said.

“I had expected Secretary Del Rosario to finish the term with me. But as you have noticed, his health has really deteriorated so we had to rush a bit and fortunately, Secretary Almendras was willing to take on this responsibility,” he added.

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