Palace sees ‘exciting times’ ahead with rumored incoming US envoy Mina Chang

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2019   •   1302

Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang

MANILA, Philippines – The United States is reportedly sending Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang as the replacement to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, according to insider information from the US Executive Department.

The report set the country’s diplomatic scene abuzz and though he couldn’t confirm it, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was obviously thrilled saying days ahead would be “exciting” if Chang’s appointment would push through.

Why?

First, the 32-year-old Korean-American diplomat is a stunner and is among the top-caliber official of the United States government.

She is currently assigned to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Second, she is an advocate of global education. Before assuming a government position, Chang was the Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Linking the World.

Likewise, she is an advocate “for proactive stabilization as a strategic tool of foreign engagement and an investment in a stronger America abroad.”

According to her U.S. State Department profile, Chang has “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.”

Third, Chang has impressive academic credentials: “An alumna of the Harvard Business School, a graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar, a Harvard John F. Kennedy Senior Executive in National and International Security and a former International Security Fellow at New America.”

Aside from good looks, Chang also had a flourishing career as an international pop singer and recorded both English and Korean songs, a platform she used to push her humanitarian goals.

With the Filipinos’ weakness for beauty pageants and President Rodrigo Duterte’s fondness for beautiful women, U.S. President Donald Trump is perhaps using this ‘beauty queen diplomacy’ to convince the President to make a turn around as he pivots to China.

Once confirmed, Chang will be the second female US ambassador to the Philippines after Kristie Kenney, who served as ambassador to Manila from 2006 to 2009.  

US donates hygiene kits, handwashing stations to Manila City gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government of the United States on Thursday donated hygiene kits and handwashing stations to the city government of Manila in support of the Philippine capital’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, US Ambassador Sung Kim said he visited the Delpan Quarantine Facility in Tondo to handover 5,000 hygiene kits and 16 handwashing stations to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Kim said the hygiene kits could provide additional protection against COVID-19 through the provision of items essential to practicing good personal hygiene.

The kits contain face masks, soap, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and toothbrushes.

“The U.S. government is a friend, partner, and ally of the Manileños in facing this pandemic. The American people are pleased to support the City of Manila’s efforts to fight COVID-19,” Kim said.

To complement the donation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said it will continue to collaborate with the Manila City Health Office to help ensure that citizens can access quality tuberculosis services during the pandemic as well as to support the rollout of the Department of Health’s “Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE)” strategy to contain the pandemic.

USAID recently donated two ventilators to the Tondo Medical Center as part of the 100 ventilators that the U.S. government handed over last August 28 to the Philippine government.

To date, the U.S. government has donated over P1 billion ($22.6 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.

Gov’t seeks single facility for COVID-19 patients

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 17, 2020

The government is looking for a single facility to house confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients to prevent overcrowding in hospitals.

On Monday (March 16), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recommendation will be discussed in a meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We are recommending that there should be only one place where we can put all those confirmed cases,” he said.

Panelo said this would lessen the risk of occupational transmission of the virus. He said placing patients in one or two facilities may help in controlling the spread of the disease.

“Baka maubusan tayo ng ospital na paglalagayan (We might run out of hospitals for the patients); and not only that, we are exposing our health workers to the same infection,” he said. — AAC

Duterte, Panelo one-on-one interview deferred anew

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2020

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – The scheduled televised one-on-one interview of President Rodrigo Duterte with his spokesperson Salvador Panelo has been postponed anew.

In a televised advisory, Panelo said the interview with Duterte, which was supposed to be held Tuesday, will be moved to a later date because the president is feeling “under the weather.”

Panelo said it may be rescheduled next week.

The said interview was initially set on January 22 but was postponed due to “pressing matters.”

The president conducted his first televised interview with Panelo in September 2018 where they discussed wide-ranging topics on martial law in Mindanao, reopening of Boracay Island, increasing rice prices, his critic former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, among others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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