15 January 2013
President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Datu, Katangiang Pilak, to outgoing Ambassador Ahmed Mahmoud Maher Abbas of Egypt in a farewell call held in Malacañan Palace.
The Egyptian Ambassador received the Grand Cross (Silver Distinction) from the President as recognition for the exceptional services he rendered to the Philippines and for strengthening the relations between the two countries.
Ambassador Abbas has been further commended for his efforts in sustaining bilateral relations in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring which included a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of medical sciences, pharmaceutical production and tourism cooperation. During his term, bilateral trade between the two countries had increased from $31.8 million in 2009 to $97 million in 2011.
Additionally, Ambassador Abbas also introduced inexpensive medicines from Egypt, partnering with the Department of Health’s Low Price Medicine Program which aims to provide cheaper medicines.
Undersecretary Jose Brilliantes, Acting Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also attended the ceremony.
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