The new Philippine ambassador to the Vatican called on Filipinos in the city state to work together for the interest of the community.
“We need to work together in all things,” said Ambassador Myla Grace Ragenia Macahilig in an interview with Father Angelito Cortes, OFM, on Church-run Radio Veritas 846.
“We may not always see eye to eye 100 percent on all issues, but definitely there are core values and core principles,” said the ambassador.
Macahilig vowed to continue programs that would help the Filipino community according to the call of Pope Francis to “respect humanity.”
“As a new ambassador, I intend to build on the works that have been done and perhaps highlight all the more the new issues that are coming,” said the envoy.
She expressed joy over the opportunity to be able to serve Filipinos abroad, especially the Catholic faithful.
“I hope we will be able to serve the immediate community here and to represent the Philippines and the Filipino people in the best way we can,” said Macahilig.
Pope Francis received the credentials of Macahilig on November 20.
In June, the Philippines’ Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Macahilig as the new ambassador to the Holy See.
Macahilig replaces Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa, who served the post from September 2018 until her retirement in January 2021.
The new envoy has been with the Department of Foreign Affairs for 23 years. She is currently the assistant secretary of the department’s financial management services.
Under her leadership, the office earned the Global Implementer Award for executing and utilizing an electronic budgeting system to its foreign service posts, the first for the Foreign Affairs office.
While she previously served in the Philippine embassies in New Zealand from 2002 to 2008 and in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2018, the Vatican will be Macahilig’s first posting as ambassador.
She is also the second career diplomat to hold the position after Relucio-Princesa.
As envoy to the Holy See, Macahilig will have concurrent jurisdiction over the Sovereign Order of Malta.
During the hearing, she assured legislators that she will further strengthen the country’s relations with the Holy See.
She said one of the things that the country shares with the Holy See is the “appreciation, value and advocacy on interfaith dialogue and migration.”
On April 8, 1951, the Philippines and the Vatican signed a treaty establishing formal relations.