PH envoys in Iran, Spain assume ASEAN committee chair posts

Published June 13, 2021, 4:45 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippine ambassadors in Iran and Spain have assumed the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) committees in the respective countries they are currently posted.

Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo Santos (left) receives the ASEAN Flag from Malaysian Chargé d’Affaires Mohd Nizam bin Halimi signaling the turnover of the chairmanship of the ASEAN Tehran Committee to the Philippine Embassy in Tehran June 7, 2021 at the Philippine Embassy. (Tehran PE)

Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran Wilfredo Santos assumed the ASEAN Tehran Committee (ATC) chairmanship from the outgoing Chair, former Malaysian Ambassador to Iran Dato’ Rustam Yahaya, who was represented by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Mohd Nizam bin Halimi of the Embassy of Malaysia, during a simple ceremony held at the Philippine Embassy in Iran on June 7, 2021.

The ACT is one of the 54 ASEAN Committees in Third Countries and International Organisations (ACTCs) that have been fully endorsed and formally established in the national capitals and other key cities around the world with the aim to promote ASEAN’s interests and identity in the concerned host countries or international organizations.

It is composed of six ASEAN Member States, namely Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. The Philippines will serve as ACT Chairperson for six months.

In attendance during the turnover rites were by ACT Heads of Mission Ambassador Pengiran Abdul Samad HJ Metasan of Brunei Darussalam, Ambassador Ronny Prasetyo Yuliantoro of Indonesia, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hien of Viet Nam, and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i Wararoj Engsombun of Thailand.

Around 10 members of the ATC Working Group, mostly embassy deputies, were present to witness the event.

In Spain, Philippine Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier has formally assumed the chairmanship of the ASEAN Committee in Madrid (ACM) in a ceremony held recently at the Philippine Embassy in Madrid also last week.

The turnover marks the start of the six-month chairmanship of the Philippines.

Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier (center) assumes the ASEAN Committee chairmanship during a ceremony in Madrid. (PE Spain)

In his acceptance remarks, Lhuillier expressed his aim of elevating the engagement between ASEAN and Spain through promoting greater awareness and cultural understanding of the ASEAN region among Spanish people and through strengthening the economic ties between Spain and the ASEAN.

“I hope that we are able to forge stronger ties with each other as we tread through pandemic-stricken times and function under a new normal. Let us all work together in elevating the ASEAN through greater awareness and greater cultural understanding and appreciation among nations,” Lhuillier said in a statement.

The Filipino diplomat also asked for support and cooperation from his counterparts in fulfilling the said goal.

The turnover ceremony was the first face-to-face meeting done by the ASEAN Committee due to the improving conditions in Spain which among the hardest hit European countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACM is composed of all ambassadors of ASEAN countries with embassies in Madrid that include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.