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Envoy to Singapore is Ambassadornew HK congen

05 September 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

Ambasador Tony Morales is set to take over
ConGen Bernie Catalla's HK post
Philippine ambassador to Singapore, Antonio Morales, is set to take over as the next consul general in Hong Kong.

This was according to outgoing Consul General Bernardita Catalla, who told The SUN that Ambassador Morales’s nomination has already been endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila. He is now just waiting for the exequatur, or a written official confirmation of his appointment, by the Hong Kong government.

Congen Catalla herself is waiting for the agrement, or approval by the Lebanese government of her appointment as the next Philippine ambassador to the country.

Amba Tony, as he is fondly called by Filipinos in Singapore, will be the first consul general in Hong Kong to have previously served as ambassador in another country.

However, ConGen Catalla clarified that this does not indicate a diminution in rank because one needs to be at least a career minister 2, an ambassadorial level, to be assigned as head of post in Hong Kong.

A lawyer and veteran diplomat, Amba Tony appears to be highly regarded by his colleagues in the foreign service, especially those who have had the chance to work with him.

His consul general in Singapore, Victorio Dimagiba, Jr.,  described the ambassador in an email message to The SUN  as fair to his officers and staff.

ConGen Dimagiba, whose first overseas posting was Hong Kong, also said Amba Tony is a silent worker who gets things done.

“He cares for the comfort of our Pinoys in SG (Singapore) that he pushed for the expansion of the consular area as well as introduced faster means for our public to have a smoother transacting experience. He of course led us to have the second highest turnout for the OAV in 2016, next only to HK,” he said.

Further, ConGen Dimagiba said his ambassador makes an effort to attend Filipino community events and has a healthy relationship with everyone.

“You will like him,” he said.

Another colleague who had the chance to work with him in San Francisco described Amba Tony as “low key but magaling”.

Ambassador Morales, who is in his mid ‘50s, assumed his post as head of mission in Singapore on May 29, 2014, and is expected to serve the remaining part of his standard six-year overseas posting in Hong Kong.

Before being assigned to Singapore, he was deputy chief of mission at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, and consul general in Milan, Italy and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He served as deputy consul general in San Francisco and was previously assigned to Rome and Ankara.

At the home office, he served as special assistant at the Office of the Undersecretary for Ocean and Special Concerns, executive director at the Office of Consular Affairs, director at the Authentication Division of the Office of Consular Affairs and acting director at the Office of European Affairs. 
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