MANILA -- In line with his proposal that the country's diplomatic service should train and become experts on the countries that they are posted in, Senator Richard Gordon has proposed allocating additional budget to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In a news release issued Wednesday, Gordon said members of the diplomatic service are not only the country's representatives, but are also the eyes and ears in their posts so they should not only be an expert on the language, but also on the culture and the country itself.
"For example in the Middle East, Arab-speaking? How many Arab-speaking ambassadors do we have? Not only Arab-speaking diplomats but also knowing how Arabs think? Dapat (It is a must that) they can provide an in-depth analysis of events happening in their posts. We should be adequately prepared so we can study the world and we can make the right decisions," he said.
The senator cited the case of two Filipinos who were accused of espionage and have been imprisoned since December 2017 in Iran.
"The problem in this case is that we do not have any Iranian speakers who can communicate with the Iranian government. Do we have experts who know the law of Iran?" he asked during the hearing for the DFA's 2019 budget.
Gordon noted that the DFA has a lot of important and strategic things to do such as taking care of the problems of overseas Filipino workers, finding out where business trends are going in the world, what the country can bring in, what it can trade and the security strengths of our neighboring countries.
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Meanwhile, Gordon said the DFA's foreign language program, for which he made a PHP20-million allocation in the 2018 budget, should be extended or expanded to other government agencies.
He also suggested that the DFA could explore a possible partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which offers language programs.
The two agencies could team up so that the DFA can look for jobs abroad for the graduates of the TESDA program, Gordon said. (Senate PR)