By Raïssa Robles
The question is understandable. The Philippines already has highly respected former broadcaster Chito Sta. Romana as ambassador to Beijing. He speaks fluent Mandarin, has won an Emmy in news and documentary, is an economics graduate and on top of that has a masters degree in international relations from the US school for training ambassadors, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
What more could Duterte ask for?
Ramon Tulfo, that’s what. He’s the exact opposite of the suave Sta. Romana. But even more important, his ties with Duterte stretch back years. Both were once educated in Ateneo de Davao University. Their families are close.
To share what I know of Tulfo, whom I have interviewed in the past on the killing of journalists, I filed the story below.
I also interviewed Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility chairman Vergel Santos to find out what he now thought of Tulfo, whose raw copy he once edited in the newsroom.
My apologies to Santos. I did not know he was in New York where it was 4 AM when I phoned him.
Below is my story explaining to a Hong Kong audience—Why Tulfo?
HOTHEAD OR PEACEMAKER? PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE’S CONTROVERSIAL PICK FOR CHINA ENVOY DIVIDES OPINION
Broadcaster and columnist Ramon Tulfo has a reputation as a controversial firebrand but insists he’s really a ‘peacemaker’.
BY RAISSA ROBLES
27 OCT 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Ramon Tulfo, 72, as the first special envoy for public diplomacy to China upon Tulfo’s request, the controversial Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist has revealed. Tulfo said Duterte, 73, wanted him to run for senator but he declined because he did not have sufficient campaign funding.
Tulfo, who attended the same school as the president, offered instead to become “a special envoy to China.”
“As a special envoy to China, which pays only P1 per year, I could retain my public service programme – Isumbong mo kay Tulfo (Complain to Tulfo),” he wrote in a column earlier this month. Tulfo would only get half that amount since the appointment is only for six months. Tulfo, who could not be reached for comment, did not say why.
He said his work would begin as soon as Beijing accepted his credentials.
As special envoy, Tulfo explained he would “facilitate applications and issuance of permits to Chinese investors”, in particular obtaining leases for idle agricultural land and fish ponds for contract farming. This would generate “millions” of jobs, he said.
Tulfo, who was recently thrust into the spotlight for boorish behaviour inside a public hospital, said he intended to act as a “go between … in the event of diplomatic tiffs with China”.
To read the rest of the article, please click on this link.