Music Room, Malacañang
14 October 2013

President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu Katangiang Pilak (Grand Cross, Silver Distinction) to outgoing United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas, Jr. in recognition of his invaluable contributions in deepening the relations between the Philippines and the United States of America, during his farewell call in Malacañan Palace.

The Ambassador was cited for his key role in the signing of the 2011 Manila Declaration that reaffirmed the United States-Philippines Defense Treaty and for advancing high-level dialogues and consultations between the Philippines and U.S.; facilitating the creation of mechanisms such as the Philippine-U.S. Bilateral Strategic Dialogue and the Two Plus Two Ministerial Consultations.

He was also cited for his outstanding contribution to the Philippine democracy and development, especially for taking the lead on the ground for the establishment and implementation of the programs under the Millennium Challenge Cooperation and the Partnerships.

The outgoing U.S. Ambassador was also acknowledged for his steadfast support to the Philippines in times of calamities, especially for the significant assistance from the United States to address the disasters caused by typhoons Pablo and Sendong.

He was likewise recognized for pursuing activities that nurtured friendship, mutual appreciation and understanding between the Filipinos and Americans.

Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. was accompanied by U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Brian L. Goldbeck, Senior Defense Official Colonel Rocky Carter, Third Secretary and Vice Consul Luke Meinzen, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta, Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of American Affairs.

Created under E.O. No. 571 in 1953, the Order of Sikatuna is the national order of diplomatic merit conferred on “individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines, upon diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous services in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.”

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