First Muslim Filipina Ambassador

MANILA, Philippines - The recent confirmation of Corazon Yap-Bahjin as ambassador to Bahrain made Philippine foreign service history as she is the first career Muslim Filipina ambassador.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, other career Muslim diplomats who headed Philippine missions abroad are former Philippine Ambassador to Turkey and currently Assistant Secretary DFA-Mindanao Bahnarim Guinomla, Philippine Consul General and Deputy Chief of Mission to Dhaka Usop Kadatuan, former Philippine Ambassador to Oman Candidate Gutoc, and former Philippine Ambassador to Libya Mukhtar Muallam.

Other Muslim who previously served as non-career Ambassadors include former Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Alunan Glang, former Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Abraham Rasul, and former Philppine Ambassador to Kuwait Mauyag Tamano.

"Ambassador-designate Bahjin is the first Filipina Muslim to pass the career Foreign Service Officers' examination and now to head a diplomatic mission," the DFA said.

Bahjin, who was recently Assistant Secretary for Personnel at the DFA, replaces former Ambassador Eduardo Pablo Maglaya in Manama.

Bahjin's grandmothers and her late husband, Datu Samsuddin Rasul Bahjin, are Tausugs from Sulu.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, majoring in English and Theology. In 1974, she obtained her Master of Arts, major in Social Studies, at the University of the Philippines.

Before embarking on a diplomat career, Bahjin was an educator. She taught at the Holy Trinity College in Palawan, the Centro Escolar University, and then the Palawan State University, where she became an Assistant Professor.

She was previously assigned in Cairo, Amman, Bangkok, and Xiamen, where she was Consul General. In the home office, she also served as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination as well as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Consular Affairs.

Bahjin's constituents in Bahrain will consist of around 45,000 Filipinos of a total 570,000 expatriate population there. - First Posted 18:53:00 05/29/2009


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