PH envoy to Lebanon dies from COVID-19

A FILIPINO diplomat assigned in Lebanon yesterday died of complications from coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

In a statement, the DFA said "with deep sadness, the Department of Foreign Affairs announces the untimely demise on 02 April 2020, of Ambassador Bernardita Catalla, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon, from complications arising from Covid 19."

A career diplomat for 27 years, service to the country has been the hallmark of Catalla’s distinguished foreign service career, the DFA said.

She served in key posts like Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and was Passport Director where she delivered frontline service to millions of Filipinos.

Prior to her assignment in Lebanon, she was Consul General in Hong Kong, looking over the welfare of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipinos.

Since December 2019, she spearheaded the voluntary mass repatriation program of the Philippine Embassy in Beirut.

"Bernie, as Ambassador Catalla was fondly called, has always lent a helping hand, to her family, friends and colleagues. Her ever ready smile and infectious laughter may have been extinguished but her dedication to our country will always be there as a guiding light for all members of the Philippine foreign service," the statement added.