On 28 November 2019, Philippine Ambassador Leah M. Basinang-Ruiz presented her credentials to Lithuania President Gitanas Nauseda at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius as non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Republic of Lithuania.
Ambassador Ruiz was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General Mardomel Melo D. Melicor.
The ceremony commenced with the conveyance of Ambassador Ruiz from the Kempinski Hotel Vilnius to the Palace in a government car escorted by the diplomatic police. She was greeted upon arrival by the Director of the State and Diplomatic Protocol Mr. Neilas Tankevičius and the commander of the Honor Guard and was accorded the traditional military honors.
Ambassador Ruiz was greeted by the President’s Aide de Camp and escorted to the Ambassador’s Room where she was warmly welcomed by the President’s Foreign Policy Adviser Ms. Dalia Tamošiūnienė.
The presentation ceremony took place at the White Hall where President Nauseda warmly welcomed Ambassador Ruiz and received her letter of credentials and the letter of recall of her predecessor. After the photo-taking, Ambassador Ruiz had a private audience with the President accompanied by DCM Melicor while the President was joined by his Adviser.
Ambassador Ruiz conveyed the warm greetings and best wishes of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and her deep appreciation for her inclusion in the accreditation schedule before year end. She proceeded to inform him of the Embassy’s plans to further intensify tourism, trade and investment ties between the two countries, promote more people-to-people contacts through parliamentary, academic and cultural exchanges, and pursue the establishment of a joint political consultation mechanism.
President Nauseda expressed the hope that relations between the two countries that commenced 27 years ago will continue to deepen and expand in the years ahead and bring security and prosperity to both sides. He expressed admiration for Filipinos whom he described as a “hard working people”, saying this positive reputation is enjoyed by Filipinos all over the world. He also noted that both the Philippines and Lithuania have the same national sport – basketball – that could serve as a shared interest between the two peoples.
Aside from her meeting with the President, Ambassador Ruiz also met and exchanged views on the bilateral relations with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for Policy Mr. Neris Germanas, the Director-General of the MFA Department for Latin America, Africa, Asia and Pacific Ms. Diana Mickevičienė and the Director of the MFA Director of State and Diplomatic Protocol.
She also had the opportunity to meet with the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Papal Nuncio Archbishop Petar Rajič, who is also concurrently accredited on a non-resident basis to the Republic of Estonia and Republic of Latvia.
Ambassador Ruiz is the 5th Philippine Ambassador to Poland. Her post has concurrent jurisdiction over Philippine relations with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine. She was the first female Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon from 2011-2016. She was previously assigned to the Philippine Embassies in Wellington, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, and Berlin. She served in various capacities in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila: Chief Coordinator Office of the Secretary; Assistant Secretary of the Department Legislative Liaison Unit; Executive Director, UN and International Organizations Office (UNIO); Director, UNIO Political and Security Division; Director, UNIO Human Rights Division; Director, ASEAN Affairs Office; Acting Director, Central Europe Division, Office of European Affairs.
Ambassador Ruiz stands at attention for the playing of the national anthems of the Philippines and Lithuania, holding her Letter of Credentials and the Letter of Recall of her predecessor.
Ambassador Ruiz prepares to inspect the Guard of Honor.
Ambassador Leah M. Basinang-Ruiz presents her credentials to H.E. Gitanas Nauseda, President of the Republic of Lithuania at the Presidential Palace, Vilnius.
Ambassador Ruiz receives the warm welcome and felicitations of President Nauseda
Official Photo of Philippine Ambassador Leah M. Basinang-Ruiz Ruiz and Lithuania President H.E. Gitanas Nauseda after the presentation of credentials ceremony.
Ambassador Ruiz and President Nauseda is joined by Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul General Mardomel Celo D. Melicor.