MANILA – Like many envoys carrying the daunting task of bolstering the nation’s ties with their host countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, Philippine Ambassador to Kenya, Alex Chua, took on the challenge.
He ended his tour of duty this week, undoubtedly with a lot of success, with enhanced relations between Nairobi and Manila not only bilaterally, but also in the multilateral fora.
Chua paid a farewell call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Nov. 5 and recalled the cooperation between the two countries, especially in candidatures in international bodies.
“Serving as the Philippine Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the UNEP and UN-Habitat for two years has been a fitting culmination of my career in foreign service,” he said in a statement.
“It has given me the chance to advocate for policies and initiatives that contributed to the advancement of Philippine political, economic, and socio-cultural interests in the bilateral and multilateral fore,” he added.
From April 2019 to November 2021, Chua served as the Ambassador to Kenya with concurrent jurisdiction over Burundi, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
He was also the Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).
As a Permanent Representative, one of the most significant meetings he attended was the first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi in May 2019.
This meeting adopted five resolutions covering a range of topics, including safer cities; capacity building for implementing the New Urban Agenda; achieving gender equality through UN-Habitat’s work to support inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements; and enhancing urban-rural linkages, among others.
Chua also pushed for the opening of the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Mahe, Seychelles and in Kigali, Rwanda, which further promoted, among others, Philippine trade, commerce, culture and tourism, and the welfare and interests of the Filipinos within said areas.
Chua said his postings allowed him to engage with people from all walks of life and “appreciate the captivating beauty of each country” under the embassy’s jurisdiction.
In his farewell message to the Filipino community, he expressed his appreciation for their support to the Philippine Embassy through the years and asked them to “continue to represent the Philippines in the best possible ways anywhere they go”.
‘Dedicated public servant’
Chua’s Kenya assignment will conclude his 43 years in the foreign service as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.
A lawyer by profession and a diplomat by occupation, he graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and Bachelor of Law degrees,
He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1978 and rose from the ranks.
His first foreign assignment was at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong from 1985 to 1993 as a legal officer before becoming Vice Consul that enabled him to handle various cases of overseas Filipino workers in distress.
He was then assigned as Third Secretary and Vice Consul, Second Secretary and Consul, and First Secretary and Consul at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing from 1995 to 2001.
From 2003 to 2009, he was assigned at the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou, where he was promoted from the Consul, to Deputy Consul General, and Consul General.
In 2011, he was reassigned to the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, but as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires, where he made numerous representations before the Government of China amid a maritime dispute.
After Beijing, he was reassigned to the Philippine Embassy in Myanmar from March 2013 to March 2017 as the Ambassador.
He advocated for the further enhancement of the Philippines-Myanmar bilateral relations, marking a total of four state visits of the late president Benigno Aquino III and President Rodrigo Duterte. (PNA)