Reception Hall, Malacañang Palace
11 January 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Grand Cross to Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez and Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain Carlos S. Salinas.

Ambassador Lopez received the award with the following citations: for his exemplary efforts which contributed significantly to the historic elevation of Philippines—Japan relations to that of a strategic partnership; for his commitment to working closely with Japan in advocating maritime security in accordance with international law; for overseeing and coordinating with utmost dedication and efficiency high-level visits between the Philippine and Japan, including the State Visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Philippines and vise versa; for his indefatigable efforts in evacuating and ensuring the safety of Filipinos in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake; and, for his exemplary accomplishment in working for the further advancement and strengthening of the country’s national interests in it relations with Japan.

On the other hand, Ambassador Salinas was recognized for his active engagement in forging the Philippine-Spain defense cooperation; his research contributions that led to the discovery of the historical documents that strengthened the country’s claim over Bajo de Masinloc; for promoting Philippine maritime interest in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA); for his contribution to peace-building efforts in the Southern Philippines by arranging the visits to Spain of government officials in the Executive and Legislative to understand the Spain’s experience with its autonomous regions; and, for playing an important role in the negotiation and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Philippine Department of Tourism and the Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior (ICEX) España Exportación e Inversiones of Spain for the conduct of Madrid-Fusión-Manila.

Their families joined the Ambassadors during the photo opportunity with the President.

*  *  *