Philippines gets ambassador to US: Mending relations on card?

Jose "Babe" Romualdez has been nominated by President Rodrigo Duterte to be the Philippines ambassador to Washington.

Picture for representation
A fluttering Philippine flag Reuters (Picture for representation)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has finally appointed a new Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America (USA) after a vacancy of more than one year. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella announced that Jose "Babe" Romualdez was nominated to be the country's ambassador to Washington.

The announcement came a few days after Duterte had his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The ambassadorial post was vacated in June 2016 after former central bank governor Jose Cuisia stepped down. In the appointment papers, Romualdez was appointed as Ambassador Extra ordinary and Plenipotentiary to the US.

Abella said that the Office of the President is confident that Mr. Romualdez appointment at the Philippine embassy in Washington DC will improve Philippine-US relations and promote cooperation between the two nations.

Romualdez will also serve concurrently as the Philippine representative to Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Barbados, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica Trinidad, Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda.

The Philippines and the US had an unstable relationship since Duterte became the president last year. The rocky relationship began when former US president Barrack Obama expressed concern over the Duterte's campaign war on drugs that resulted in deaths thousands of alleged drug suspects.

Duterte then lambasted the US government for meddling in the affairs of Philippines. Not only this, the Filipino leader also called Obama names and said that US is a lousy country.

He also, earlier, announced publicly that his government is now realigning himself with China and Russia - countries known to have tarnished relations with US.

The new ambassador greatest challenge is to bring Philippines and US closer despite the on-going heated exchanges between Duterte and the representatives of the US government.