By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has designated former Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar as his special envoy to Malaysia, Malacañang announced Monday.
Andanar, father of Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, will serve as special envoy for a term of six months. His appointment paper was signed last August 9.
In accepting the new ambassadorial post, Andanar has vowed to help strengthen the country’s relations with Malaysia.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the President and the country. I just arrived last night from Kuala Lumpur where I had a private meeting with DATU SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM a friend since 1998,” Andanar, a lawyer, said in a statement.
“Hopefully, I can help forge stronger bonds between the Philippines and Malaysia as we endeavour to intensify bilateral cooperation to combat transnational crimes such as terrorism, piracy, and human trafficking. Insha Allah, this will promote lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” he added.
The appointment of Andanar came following the government’s appeal to undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia to take the repatriation program before the month ends.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has promised to assist Filipinos who want to go home through the voluntary deportation program.
Apart from Andanar, the President has appointed Jeffrey Ian Dy as Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, replacing Noel Patrick Prudente.
Last May, Duterte fired Prudente for alleged excessive foreign travels.