The Toughest Government Position to Apply For

It’s that special time once again. Aspiring public servants are now submitting their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) and announcing their intentions of running for office. But with the proliferation of nuisance candidates, (there are a lot of shady presidentiables for example) it’s quite obvious that our minimum standards for being a government official are not that high. If you want to become the president of our republic for example, all you need to do is fulfill 5 (FIVE) basic requirements, succesfully get elected, then BOOM! Hello Malacanang Palace!

bitch pls

Let’s look at PH President as if it were a job post on JobsDB or Jobstreet.

POSITION: President of the Philippines

JOB DESCRIPTION: Article VII, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution vests executive power on the President of the Philippines. The President is the Head of State and Head of Government, and functions as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As chief executive, the President exercises control over all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices.

JOB TENURE: The President of the Philippines is elected by direct vote by the people for a term of six years. He may only serve for one term, and is ineligible for reelection. The term of the President of the Philippines starts at noon of the 30th day of June after the election.

QUALIFICATIONS:  According to our government’s official website (, here are the qualifications for President of the Philippines:

  1. Natural born Filipino
  2. A registered voter
  3. Must be able to read and write
  4. 40 years of age at the day of the election
  5. Must have resided in the Philippines ten years before the election is held


  1. File COC
  2. Get funds, campaign and get yourself elected

If we’re going to be honest about it, the qualifications aren’t that hard to accomplish. You’d think that the highest position in the land would require a bit more from aspirants. That’s why we’re getting all sorts of would-be statesmen including those who claim to be inter-galactic space commanders sent by aliens.

*insert facepalm here*



A few months ago, an aunt of mine informed me about an opening for a position in the PH government. It was an opening at the Department of Foreign Affairs so of course, I was curious to know more about the requirements for said position. The job: Foreign Service Officer (FSO) Class IV. Basically, you’re like a junior diplomat, a sort of ambassador for the Philippines. Let me tell you now, the process of becoming a Foreign Service Officer is no walk in the park. Brace yourselves!

Again, let’s look at it like a job ad.

POSITION: DFA Foreign Service Officer

About the job:

This is from the DFA’s official announcement about the post:

The Board of Foreign Service Examinations, pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign Service Act (R.A. 7157) of 1991 and the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, announces the holding of the 2015 FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER (FSO) EXAMINATION to recruit candidates for appointment to the position of Foreign Service Officer, Class IV.

Applicants for the examination must be knowledgeable on the economic, political and social conditions of the Philippines, and must possess not only facility in oral and written communications, but must also possess the personality traits essential to the performance of the duties of Foreign Service Officers. They must also be willing and able to accept assignments to any post where their services may be required.

The Requirements if You Want to Become a Foreign Service Officer under the DFA:

1. Citizenship – Applicants should be natural-born Filipino citizens and concurrently permanent residents of the Philippines. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9225 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, those who pass the FSO Examinations with more than one citizenship, shall subscribe and swear to an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities, and renounce their oath of allegiance to any other country, prior to assumption of office.
2. Age – Applicants should not be more than thirty-five (35) years of age on the day of the Qualifying Test or on 16 August 2015. The maximum age limit, however, do not apply to those who have been employed in the Department of Foreign Affairs or Foreign Service Institute for at least two years prior to the date of the FSO Qualifying Examinations and who meet the other qualifications required of candidates for the examination.
3. Education – Applicants should have at least graduated from a four (4) year bachelor’s degree course or higher on or before the prescribed due date of submission of requirements, and shall present the transcript of records, and either the diploma, certificate of graduation or its equivalent, from a college or university of recognized standing.
4. Work Experience or Further Studies – Applicants should have undergone at least two (2) years employment or further studies or a combination of both after graduating from college or university.

The Examination Process

If you pass the requirements above, and after submitting the necessary paperwork, you will then have to undergo the FSO Examination which is composed of five (5) parts:

  1. Qualifying Test
  2. Preliminary Interview
  3. Written Test
  4. Psychological Test
  5. Oral Test

Wait ’til you see the details of these tests! (FOR ADDED FUN: Try to answer the questions yourselves!)

1. Qualifying Test 
The Qualifying Test covers (1) Verbal Ability; (2) Analytical Ability; (3) Numerical Ability; and (4) Managerial Ability. Candidates must obtain a passing grade of at least 80% in the Qualifying Test in order to qualify for the Preliminary Interview.

Description: A mix between a college entrance exam and the Civil Service Exam. Questions will be about basic grammar, math, logic, etc. There are strict time limits.

[IMPORTANT NOTE: I got the sample questions and testimonies from an article by Mr. Rafael Ignacio- someone who has undergone and successfully passed the FSO exam.]

2. Preliminary Interview (20 minutes)
The Preliminary Interview shall be held after the results of the Qualifying Test have been
determined. Candidates shall be interviewed by a panel of Foreign Service Officers to
evaluate their overall potential for becoming Foreign Service Officers and future
Ambassadors. Candidates must obtain an overall rating of “PASS” from the panel in order to qualify for the next stage of the exam.

Description:  A panel interview where you will be asked about the country’s GDP, the population of neighboring countries, what you think the FSO position will entail, what you think you can contribute to the DFA, and so on. They may also ask you to explain the 3 Pillars of the Philippines’ Foreign Policy. (I will bet my socks  that most presidential candidates don’t even know what these 3 pillars are!)

3. Written Test (a 3-day essay-type xam!!!)

The Written Test covers the following six subjects with the corresponding weights:

  1. English (20%)
  2. Filipino (5%)
  3. Philippine Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Conditions – Philippine history, culture, foreign policy, geography, government, development issues and goals (30%)
  4. International Affairs – Theory and practice of international economics and trade, international politics, international law and treaties (30%)
  5. World History (10%)
  6. Foreign Language – Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, French, German,
    Japanese, or Spanish (5%) — You actually have to learn another language apart from Filipino and English!!!

Candidates must obtain a passing grade of at least 75% in the Written Test in order to qualify for the Psychological Test.

Sample Questions:

  • A Filipino citizen was sentenced to receive the death penalty in China for acting as a drug-mule. As Secretary of Foreign Affairs, propose a plan, which outlines the courses of action the President may undertake.
  • Give five examples of the government’s proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects and give a brief explanation for each.
  • Explain how the Conditional Cash Transfer program will alleviate poverty.
  • What are the benefits of forging an ASEAN Economic Community in 2015?
  • Compare and contrast the Spanish colonization experience of Latin America and the Philippines.

4. Psychological Test 

To be conducted by representatives from Philippine Mental Health Association. A series of psychological tests that will uncover truths about your personal life, thought processes, work experiences, personal views, reactions to specific situations, and so on. According to examiners, 50% of those who take this test, fail. (Calling the attention of Presidentiable Mr. Galactic Commander!) 

5. Oral Test (2 days)

Day 1: Panel lnterview

A 10-person panel composed of members of the academe, senior ambassadors, and the heads of the Board of Foreign Service Examiners will grill you about your life and work achievements. You will be asked to defend your points of view, weaknesses, etc. They may also ask you about your take on current events, your knowledge of recent presidential apointees, and challenges in the ASEAN region.

Day 2: Debate and Group Dynamics

You will then be asked to take part in a debate against your fellow FSO aspirants. As in, a serious debate where you have to take a stand on certain issues then defend it fiercely.

BONUS ROUND: (Yup, hindi pa tapos!)

After the Oral Test there will be a formal dinner where even your knowledge on how to use proper silverware will be checked. It is here where they will scrutinize your etiquette and manners. Afterwards, everyone is tasked to create a 1-minute impromptu speech based on a given topic.

Candidates who obtain a transmuted score of at least 80% shall be deemed to have passed the Oral Test.

HOW TO GET THE JOB: A candidate must garner a composite rating of 80% or above in the Written Test and Oral Test in order to pass the FSO examination.






Needless to say, I did not apply for the position. (Lol!)

However, it got me thinking. Damn, this junior position in the Department of Foreign Affairs is really hard to get! Although, if you ask me, I believe that the rigorous exams are justifiable. This tough screening process is needed if we are to send out individuals who will be representing our country to the rest of the world. Tama lang naman. 


If you put it side by side with the requirements and “job application process” for President of the Philippines, the top executive position fails in comparison. Walang sinabi. Ang layo! 

Think about it, if we are this concerned about the credentials of junior staff members in our Department of Foreign Affairs, why is it that we are so lax when it comes to higher positions? Mayors, Congressmen, Senators, Vice President and President. Aren’t these people tasked with much BIGGER responsibilities? Won’t they represent us to the rest of the world too? Aren’t they the ones who will have an active hand at shaping our country and daily lives?

I understand that we don’t put any educational restrictions for people who want to run for public office, for the sake of democracy, and to give a chance to anyone regardless of their economic background.

However, I think you will agree with me when I say that, hey, I would want my country’s leaders to be able to answer those tough questions as well!

They have to know the current standing of our nation’s economy. They must have a plan of action when it comes to foreign policy. They should already be aware of current events and at least have a good understanding of our constitution. They should have CONCRETE plans on how to alleviate poverty in theprovinces.

A panel interview would be great! Let’s have more debates for them!

And my golly, they should at least pass a friggin’ psychological test! (Again, I’m looking at Mr. Intergalactic Space Commander and his comrades.)

To end this long post, my point is this: LET’S RAISE OUR STANDARDS.

#theleaderIwant #moveph

PS: Saludo ako sa mga simpleng tao na tumatakbo dahil lamang gusto talaga nila ng pagbabago. Naiiyak ako dun sa mga taong may dakilang layunin. Ngunit hindi natin maitatanggi na kailangan natin ng mga pinuno na matatalino at may tamang kakayahan. Kung pwede lang na mapagsama ang tapat na layunin AT sapat na kakayahan. Sino nga ba ang nararapat iboto?

Ariane Astorga

Ariane Astorga

Ariane Astorga is an events host, voiceover talent, singer, and freelance writer from Metro Manila. Ever bubbly, she's a little firecracker who aims to inform and inspire.
Ariane Astorga

One thought on “The Toughest Government Position to Apply For

  1. zirk
    February 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    haha need not to say . it’s too hard for an ordinary

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