Filipino Legacies in the Gulf: Constancio Vigno Jr, Adelio Cruz, Abdul Hannan Tago & Jun Del Rosario
Constancio Vigno Jr.
“My true aspiration is that every Filipino who goes abroad does it out of choice and not because they are forced to do it because of economic circumstance.”
Career diplomat former Ambassador Constancio Vingno Jr had quite a run in his four decades-long career at the Foreign Service. His last post as head of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi before he went on to retire in 2018, has left lasting benefits for the Filipino community in the country.
Of the many initiatives that he has lead, one of his most significant achievements was the signing of the Philippine and UAE labor cooperation agreement in September 2017, which paved the way for the repatriation of over 1,500 distressed Filipinos in the emirates. In addition, he has also improved several of the embassy’s dynamics, aiding in reaching out to a greater audience in the country. During his tenure, the Filipino community in the UAE had the highest turnout of voters for the 2016 Philippine elections. This has been the highest in the UAE since the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 was implemented.
Consul General Adelio Cruz
Consul General Adelio Cruz of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, served in the Middle East for several years – in the UAE from 2007 to 2011, where he was Consul General at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, and then in Libya as Chargé D’Affaires on Pied and head of the Philippines’ Rapid Response Team from 2014 to 2016. While based in Tripoli, he facilitated the evacuation and repatriation of over 5,000 Filipinos from the war-torn country. He was also tasked to continue to enhance bilateral relations with Libya and seven other countries, namely, Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.
A devoted diplomat who chose to go into a warzone to facilitate the rescue of others, he is one of those exceptional few. He has dodged bullets, been held at gunpoint, lived in challenging conditions while providing leadership to a Filipino community located in one of the most politically-tense environs in the region.
Abdul Hannan Tago
Hailed as a hero by many, former KSA resident Abdul Hannan Tago was a highly distinguished campaigner of Filipino rights in Saudi Arabia. A speaker, a media veteran, and the only Arabic-speaking Filipino journalists in the kingdom, he has left a lasting legacy with the Overseas Filipino community, functioning as a pivotal connector to the Arab world. With a body of work that has earned multiple awards and recognitions, he has written pieces for regional and local Arabic publications such as Al Sharq, Al Awsat, Al Egtisadiah and al Youm. He has also spoken at the KSA Broadcasting Forum and is a respected former Filipino Community leader.
As the Executive Director of the Bangsamoro Federal Business Council (BFBCI) which was established in 2016 by current DTI Undersecretary of Special Concerns Abdulghani Macatoman and RDO Nasraily Conding, he has proposed to the Senate that OFs should be exempted from the Civil Service Eligibility requirements when it comes for employment opportunities.
“We have proven our competence and strength to the world,” he says. “We have also proven that we can change the political landscape. As such, I strongly suggest that our returning OFs should be given priority in future developmental projects so our country can make use of their global exposure.”
Jun Del Rosario
Long before Filipinos broke through the multinational corporate ‘glass ceiling’ in the region, Ateneo graduate ‘go-getter’ Jun Del Rosario was already making waves around the Gulf. A Group Director for HR (Human Resources) for the InterContinental Hotel group at the very young age of 34, he was a pioneering top multinational executive since 1991. During the mid 2000s, shifting to his own consultancy, he was directly reporting to billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor, and was responsible for the Al Habtoor Group’s organizational development function involving over 24,000 employees. His consultancy services were also extended to companies such as Total Petroleum, the fourth largest publicly-traded integrated oil and gas company in the world, as well as banks and trading houses around the globe.