Changing of the guards


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Second woman Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Marian Jocelyn Tirol-Ignacio will arrive to debut in her first envoy’s post in this oil-rich sultanate, October 2021 Asean Summit meeting chair.

She led Philippines in batting for multilateral cooperation to address global vaccination gap during a Covid-19 pandemic ASEAN forum.

“Lower-income countries face challenges regarding access and administration of vaccines, and are heavy reliant on cooperation frameworks such as COVAX,” she said.

Ambassador Tirol-Ignacio gained leadership roles at offices of ASEAN Af-fairs and the United Nations and other international organizations, and in Philippine Embassies in Stockholm, Sweden and Tokyo, Japan.

During her stints, she put a premium on biodiversity and climate change and digitalization and cyber security.

Twenty five years ago, Tirol-Ignacio passed the Foreign Service Officers Examination in 1996.

A young Foreign Service Cadet in 1997, Tirol-Ignacio, was fearless and was the first female Foreign Service Officer sent with the first overseas team who successful evacuated Filipino nationals in Cambodia.

“I was better than any man,” then Migrant Workers Affairs Undersecretary Leonides Caday had stated numerous times in public, colleagues told her.

“When a more senior diplomat paid me what he thought as a great compliment from his perspective: I would make a great diplomat’s wife, instinct immediately told me: Why not a great diplomat?,” she said.

She passed the Career Ministers Examination in 2008, when her only criteria was competence, not gender, she said.

She was Philippine Embassy’s Minister and Consul General in Tokyo during her six-year tour of duty until April 2018.

“Filipinos in Japan constitute the third largest group of foreign nationals. Majority of Filipinos residing in Japan are wives and mothers…trying to make it in a foreign land. Some Filipinos who marry Japanese nationals opted to keep their Filipino citizenship. They have second generation kids who are both Filipino and Japanese, who we hope will continue to do well in Japan what they have adopted.

“The Filipino workforce constitutes mostly engineers and technical interns in the IT industry. Entry of nurses and caregivers, around 1,600, added to the growing professional community in Japan,” she said.

She will take over as Mother of 20,000 OFWs after Ambassador Christopher Montero’s two-year- Brunei crossposting.

“Facing global pandemic difficulties, Brunei is world’s second safest country today, second to none, under His Majesty the Sultan’s leadership and wisdom,” Montero told over 300 guests attending June’s Philippine Independence Day diplomatic reception.

Brunei restarted Thursday first-dose vaccination with donated supplies. Unvaccinated patients were 75.6 percent (2,890 cases) reported since August 7.

As of September 1, 13.52 percent of population have received one vaccine dose; 31 percent are fully vaccinated.

Identification wristbands are issued to positive cases and close contacts to deter quarantine violators during August’s partial lockdown.

39 quarantine breakers face court after police checkpoints stopped them.

Cases surpassed 4,000 with 18 deaths. Delta variant in second wave caused 15 deaths in last five weeks after 15 months of no local transmission.

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