Philippine Time Zone UTC+08:00
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Currency Philippine peso
National Day 12 June
His Excellency Antonio LAGDAMEO has returned to the UK for his second tour of duty as the Ambassador of the Philippines to the Court of St James’s. The first was between July 2009 and September 2010. He and his wife Linda are thrilled to be back in the UK. Most of their children remain in the United States and the Philippines, busy with their careers and children of their own.
A businessman at heart, Ambassador Lagdameo is quick to clarify: “I’m not a career diplomat. Like my father before me, my background is in business. He too became an ambassador. I was preparing to retire from business when I embarked on a diplomatic career, so I seem to be following a similar career path.” And a distinguished path it has been. Prior to his last posting in the UK, he served as Philippine Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. This came after he completed his Ambassadorial posting to Mexico. While serving in Mexico, he was also a non-resident Philippine Ambassador with concurrent jurisdiction over Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
After he left the UK in 2010, the Ambassador went back home to resume his business career in the Philippines. He confesses: “I was taking a more relaxed pace. The children are more involved with the businesses. Of course, I still put in my two cents worth sometimes.” He continues: “And then our President asked me to return to the UK and serve, so here I am.”
So what are his main plans and priorities as Ambassador in the UK? He says of course the key difference to his last posting here is a political one: the UK’s decision to leave the EU. He is closely observing the events surrounding and in the run up to Brexit. “We have to be prepared to react to how the UK leaving the European Union would affect relations with our part of the world.” He explains that the UK is the Philippines’s top investor in Europe. “We would hope that this relationship will continue as positively as it has done in the past. We hope to work the events of Brexit to both the UK and the Philippines’s advantage.”
As the current Chairman of ASEAN, the Philipppines has quite some responsibility in this respect. Ambassador Lagdameo says: “It is in the interest of the Philippines as current chairman of ASEAN to facilitate and strengthen trade and investment relations between ASEAN and the UK. Bilaterally, the Philippines does not have any free trade agreement with the UK. So this could be among the things that we can discuss with the UK after the Brexit negotiations are completed. ”
Ambassador Lagdameo is aware that he is facing some major challenges while in the UK. “We must get ourselves understood as far as the various programmes that President Rodrigo Duterte has embarked on. For example, we are constantly questioned on the Duterte Administration’s approach to the drug problem in the Philippines.” The Ambassador continues: “People have to understand the situation from our point of view. And they must realise that people cannot really dictate to other countries on how they approach their own problems because they are different from their own.”
Ambassador Lagdameo recalls the two presentations of his credentials to Her Majesty as his career highlights: “It’s almost indescribable how I have felt so blessed to have this opportunity. Each time has been a super experience.” A government role as Chairman of Philippine Racing Commission fuelled a lifelong passion for racing, a topic that came up at their first meeting. Ambassador Lagdameo exclaims: “The Queen recalled that one of our horses had beaten one of hers. She had quite a sense of humour about these things, but she did say that her mother (The Queen Mother) had taken it rather hard
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