British Ambassador Asif Ahmad with Joanna Teh, MBE.
MANILA – Two Filipino women were awarded with Members of the Order of the British Empire for their exemplary service to the British community and to victims of super typhoon “Haiyan” or Yolanda.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II conferred the honor to Vice Consul Victoria Buenaventura and Pro-Consul Joanna Teh of the Consular Section at the British Embassy in Manila.
The Order of the British Empire recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds.
British Ambassador Asif Ahmad congratulated the two who immediately went to Samar and Leyte “to account for all those who were reported as missing and those who need help.”
“In their daily work, both of them continue to meet the needs of British citizens who live, work or travel to the Philippines. The demands can range from dealing with bereavement to help with lost documents. Victoria and Hannah’s work has been recognized by Her Majesty the Queen and it is a source of great pride to us all,” said the ambassador.
British Ambassador confers with Victoria Buenaventura, MBE
Buenaventura was deployed three times with the Rapid Deployment Teams in different cities after typhoon Yolanda.
“For me, I was only doing my job as a consular officer. I knew I did it well, to the best of my ability and mindful of diplomatic excellence, but did not expect this recognition. The implication of belonging to an 'elite' company, as I was told it was, is just beginning to sink in,” said Buenaventura.
She and Teh endured many challenges, including difficulties in coordination and lack of transportation, which understandably occur during calamities of this magnitude.
“It is indeed a great source of pride which I would like to share with my family, to the consular and crisis team who have worked very hard during Typhoon Haiyan and of course to the Filipino people but all praises and honor only belongs to our God. To Him be the glory!” Teh said.
HM Consul Brendan Gill said Buenaventura and Teh deserve the award.
"Without their vital work, in this most difficult and extreme of environments, we would never have had the same level of success in finding and helping British nationals in the affected area. It is a great tribute both personally for Victoria and Hannah and also to the calibre of our local staff. I am very proud of them," he said.