The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) – through its Carlos P. Romulo School of Diplomacy (CPRSD) – held the first virtual closing ceremony of the Foreign Service Officers’ Cadetship Course (FSOCC) on 19 January 2022. As an adjustment due to the pandemic, FSI held the ceremony via Zoom for Batch XXVIII.

FSI Director-General Jose Maria A. Cariño congratulated the 30 newly commissioned Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and praised their hard work, dedication, and resilience in completing the cadetship course while enduring the various challenges brought about by a global pandemic. He also reminded them that the cadetship was just the beginning of their journey in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and to always serve the Filipino people here and at Foreign Service Posts with utmost responsibility and integrity.

DFA Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs, Ms. Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, graced the online event as the guest of honor, on behalf of the Honorable Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

FSI Director-General Jose Maria A. Cariño congratulates the 30 Cadets of Batch XXVIII-Balintanaw

In the message delivered by Undersecretary Lazaro, Secretary Locsin congratulated the new FSOs’ successful completion of the FSOCC, which is a significant milestone in their career in the Foreign Service. He also lauded Batch XXVIII-Balintanaw’s “rise to the challenge to mark a beacon of hope and a trail of success in the coming years.”

DFA Undersecretary Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro delivers Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin’s message to the Cadets

As a response, Mr. Ahmad Rais T. Undug delivered a speech on behalf of Batch XXVIII, sharing that the most valuable lesson they learned was kindness, for they “stepped up for each other, and covered for those who needed help” while balancing their cadetship responsibilities with taking care of their loved ones during this challenging situation.

Mr. Undug also mentioned that Batch XXVIII named themselves “Balintanaw,” which is a portmanteau of two Filipino words: “baliktanaw,” which means “to look back,” and “balintataw,” which means the pupil of the eye.

He furthered explained that taken together, the combination of these two words means that as a batch, they aim to embark on their respective careers in the foreign service with a balanced perspective — eyes set firmly on the future, but fully aware of the lessons from the past, particularly during the last seven (7) months of their cadetship.

Mr. Ahmad Rais T. Undug responds on behalf of Batch XXVIII-Balintanaw

Special Awards were also given during the Closing Ceremony to the following Cadets for their foreign policy paper group project entitled “Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Normalization: Opportunities and Challenges for the DFA”: Ms. Danica Denise Manicad, Ms. Danna Paula Olaya, Mr. Richard Recella, Mr. George Mariano Soriano, and Mr. Ahmad Rais Undug.

Virtual photo of FSOCC Batch XXVIII-Balintanaw with FSI Director General Cariño (first row, fourth tile from left), DFA Undersecretary Lazaro (fifth row, third tile from left), FSI Carlos P. Romulo School of Diplomacy Head Dr. Marichu C. Liwanag (third row, second tile from left), DFA officials, and other guests.

To sustain its training programs and services while traversing the “new normal,” FSI utilized innovative online methods, which enabled FSOCC’s virtual availability to maximize learning for all Cadets.

CPRSD’s Core Programs Section (CPS) implemented the FSOCC Batch XXVIII from 07 June 2021 to 19 January 2022. Sixteen (16) modules were designed and implemented via both synchronous and asynchronous modes to introduce the new FSOs to the different aspects of the Philippine foreign service to prepare them to perform their functions and carry out their duties and responsibilities following the defined goals and objectives of the DFA.

The Course included modules in international relations, Philippine history and culture, the Philippines and the world economic scenario, protocol and diplomatic decorum, national security, leadership and management, and Assistance-to-Nationals issues, among others.