Philippine Defence Attache office opens

Philippine Defence Attache office opens
Philippine Defence Attache office opens

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana and Defence Attache to the UAE Col. Cesar Fernandez inaugurate the Office of the Philippine Defence and Armed Forces Attache.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The Office of the Philippine Defence and Armed Forces Attache (OPHILDAFA) in the UAE, the first in the Gulf and the second in the whole of Middle East, was inaugurated on Sunday at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M Quintana with Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Colonel Cesar Fernandez who assumed his post as defence attache on Dec.24, 2020, led the inaugural rites and ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Quintana said: “The Philippines recognises the UAE as an important partner in the region, playing a strategic role in maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East. The OPHILDAFA in the UAE provides a new channel of communication that further manifests President Duterte’s independent foreign policy and adds a new milestone to the 46-year old diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and UAE.” The inauguration came two years after President Rodrigo Duterte approved its establishment on Feb.19, 2019 and accepted by the host government on Aug.2, 2019. Thereafter, embassy officials established linkages with the EDGE Group, the UAE’s defence conglomerate.

For the inauguration, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sent the following statement: “The establishment of the OPHILDAFA today provides a greater opportunity for the Philippines and the UAE to accomplish more in the areas of defence and military cooperation. The UAE is a regional hub for the global defence industry, therefore there is much opportunity for a closer partnership between the Philippines and the UAE.” The opening of the new office coincided with the “International Defence Exhibition 2021”and the “Naval Defence Exhibition 2021” in Abu Dhabi.

The other OPHILDAFA in the Middle East is in Israel.

Last year, Quintana expressed gratefulness to all Filipino health workers taking part as among the core at the ongoing UAE-China Phase III clinical trial for a possible vaccine against the COVID-19.

Quintana personally thanked them – 180 nurses and one doctor – when she went through the “walk-through of the trial process from the registration up to the actual vaccination” at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, hosted by G42 Healthcare Chief Research director/Vaccine Project lead Dr Walid Abbas Zaher on Aug.16.

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