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Information about Department of Foreign Affairs - DFA Philippines

In the 19th century, DFA Philippines had its prosperous start in the government since Apolinario Mabini was appointed by President Emilio Aguinaldo on June 23, 1898, as the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines.

It is the demand for international awareness to support his government’s legitimacy when Aguinaldo appointed Mabini to establish the friendly countries’ diplomatic relations.

During the US colonial invasion in 1898 up to 1946, the Philippines have not become a part to its execution and occupation as well as the Japanese invasion that began in 1942 and ended in 1944.

When President Manuel Roxas was therefore the appointed President, he issued the Executive Order No. 18 on September 16, 1946 to provide the DFA and the Foreign Service’s operation and organization. Assist the rehabilitation of postwar, plan investment promotion policies and diplomatic relations re-establishment within the neighbor countries are the primary tasks during that era.

The DFA made different proposals during the Cold War era where the Bell Trade Act has amended, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or commonly known as GATT (1949) forged, the Foreign Service Law (Republic Act No. 708. RA 708) established during President Elpidio Quirino’s term and later, Foreign Service Officers or FAO examination established by Secretary Raul S. Manglapus in 1953 for the professionalism of the Foreign Service and new FSo’s recruitment and selection improvement.

During President Ferdinand Marcos years of presidency, the foreign policy was redefined to be the Philippine’s independence protection, integrity of the territory and dignity of the nation and bring out the regional collaboration that was increased. The DFA continued the trade and investments promotion, became an important part in international meetings hosting, and a participation of the Non-Aligned Movement meetings throughout the year of 1970. In 1976, the Foreign Service Institute was established to provide the Foreign Service personnel’s in-house training.

DFA also have an important role during the EDSA Revolution period under President Corazon Aquino’s term where the policy of development continued and the striving opportunities internationally in the important areas of investment, finance, trade, aid and technology.

In 1990, the DFA recommended the creation of more diplomatic specific tasks and duties in the Middle East upon the improvement of the existing relationship with Arab states and to react favorably the increasing demand of Overseas Filipino Workers within the region.

In 1991, President Aquino established the law R.A. 7157 as the new Foreign Service Law which the Foreign Service was strengthened and renewed its organization.

From July 1992 to June 1998 under the administration of President Fidel Ramos, the Philippine foreign policy’s four central areas such as the National Security enhancement, Economic Diplomacy promotion, OFW and Filipino nationals’ protection in abroad, and the country’s good image projection abroad were defined.

The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 is created to provide Filipino workers abroad a strengthened protection, with the establishment of the Assistance-to-Nationals Fund and the Legal Assistance Fund, and the appointment of a Legal Assistant as Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs in the DFA.

The DFA have the most important part of the Philippine’s centennial year celebration with success. During the Independence Day’s wonderful celebration, the DFA played as the Heads of State of Papua New Guinea’s host and as the special envoys.

During the term of President Joseph Estrada, the foreign policy maintains and extends its previous administration, emphasized on national security, nationals’ assistance, diplomacy of the economy and building the image. The Philippines pursued to be in the most prominent position of the regional and multilateral field. The DFA played a primary role for the Visiting Forces Agreement formation with the United States, where the Senate also agreed.

With its another year of existence as one of the Government’s departments, DFA Philippines look forward to the new millennium in welcoming the opportunities and challenges that is about to face.


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