President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday led the 120th founding anniversary celebration of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and awarded the department’s outstanding officials.
President Duterte thanked DFA officials and personnel for giving him the privilege to grace the agency’s anniversary.
Recognizing the works of national hero Apolinario Mabini in foreign relations, he said in his speech: “We are fortunate to have Apolinario Mabini blaze the trail upon which we now tread. May his example guide you as we continue to build pathways and bridges for enduring partnerships for our country in the community of nations.”
The President underscored his government’s independent foreign policy, as the country forges ties with non-traditional partners in the international community. He also renewed his warning on the threats of Islamic extremism and illegal drugs.
Part of Monday’s activity was the conferment of three of the country’s highest honors to six Filipino diplomats with the President leading the awarding rites.
Among the recipients of the award include Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo (Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Cross), Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Helen de la Vega (Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Grand Cross – Datu), Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes (Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong), Special Assistant Robespierre Bolivar (Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kasugo), Vice Consul Luningning Camoying (Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kasugo), and Eduardo Paraan (Gawad Mabini with the rank of Kasugo).
The six officials were given the awards for rendering dedicated and exceptional service to the department and to the Filipino people.
Several other diplomats were also recognized for their achievements during the foundation anniversary event with Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano presenting the Felipe Agoncillo Lifetime Service Award to four retiring ambassadors and other DFA officials.
A photo exhibit was also on display in the DFA Building featuring the milestones on foreign policies implemented by the Duterte administration. The President viewed the exhibit upon arrival at the venue.
The DFA was established on June 23, 1898, when the revolutionary government of President Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Apolinario Mabini as the country’s first secretary of foreign affairs. PND