Police security is up for the arrival of the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Harry Thomas Jr., in Bacolod City today.
The ambassador is expected to pay courtesy calls on Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, meet with local artists and attend the 3rd Bacolod Jazz Festival.
Leonardia said that during his meeting with ambassador he will give him an official invitation to the MassKara Festival in October this year. “I will inform the ambassador that there will be balikbayans from the USA and his presence at the MassKara will make it more significant,” Leonardia said.
Bacolod Police Director Ricardo de la Paz and Negros Occidental Police Director Allan Guisihan said security plans are in place for the visit of the ambassador.
On Nov. 12, 2010, Thomas had also visited Negros Occidental to swear in a new batch of Peace Corps volunteers assigned around the country.
Thomas assumed his post as US Ambassador to the Philippines on April 27, 2010.
He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and previously served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director for Human Resources of the U.S. State Department.
Before that, he served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Department. As Executive Secretary, he led the State Department Task Force that resulted in the safe evacuation of over 15,000 people from Lebanon in the fall of 2006.
Thomas joined the Foreign Service in 1984, and served as U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005. He also served in the White House as the Director for South Asia at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2002.
His other postings include New Delhi, India; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. Thomas speaks Spanish, Hindi, and Bangla and is learning Filipino.
He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and pursued further study at Columbia University. He holds an honorary doctorate of Philosophy from Loyola University of Maryland and formerly served as member of the Board of Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross and the Board of Governors of the National Defense University.*CPG