The history of the Republic of the Philippines and that of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are intertwined. The important events marking the passage of the years at the Department are also milestones in the rise of the Philippines as an independent nation.
Over one hundred years ago, the DFA had its auspicious beginnings when President Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Apolinario Mabini as the Republic’s first Secretary of Foreign Affairs on 23 June 1898, eleven days after the declaration of Philippine independence at Kawit, Cavite. The DFA was among the first government departments created following the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. Realizing the need for international recognition of the new government, Aguinaldo assigned Mabini the difficult task of establishing diplomatic relations with friendly countries. Members of the Hong Kong Junta, a group of Filipino exiles in Hong Kong, served as the country’s envoys for this purpose.