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Brief History of the Embassy

As an expression of the Philippine Government’s recognition of Asia’s newest democracy, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo designated Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning Dante B. Canlas as her special envoy to the Independence Day celebration of Timor-Leste on 20 May 2002. During this visit, Secretary Canlas and Dr. José Ramos-Horta, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, signed a Joint Communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri visited the Philippines to sign a country agreement with the Asian Development Bank on 15-18 August 2002. On 16 August 2002, a bilateral meeting was arranged between him and then Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople. During the meeting, Prime Minister Alkatiri conveyed that the Timor-Leste Government was amenable to the request of the Philippine Government to concurrently accredit the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta to Dili.

On 08 May 2003, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste granted agrément to the nomination of Ambassador Rafael E. Seguis as the Philippine Government’s non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Timor-Leste with residence in Jakarta. Consequently, Ambassador Seguis presented his credentials to President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão at the Palace of the Ashes on 04 August 2003.

Preparation for the opening of the resident Embassy was undertaken by First Secretary Edsel P. Barba upon his arrival in Dili in May 2004. On 17 May 2004, Ambassador Farita Aguilucho-Ong presented her credentials to President Gusmão as the first resident Philippine Ambassador to Timor-Leste. She was followed by Ambassador Leoncio R. Cardenas who assumed the post on 11 February 2008.

Ms. María Aileen H. Bugarín served as Ambassador from July 2009 to July 2015.

The Embassy is currently headed by Ambassador Evelyn D. Austria-Garcia.