VIENNA, Austria -- Philippine Ambassador to Austria Lourdes Yparraguirre has conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Lakan on Jose Kastelic, honorary consul-general in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at a ceremony at the Philippine Embassy in Vienna last Friday.
The Order of Sikatuna is an order of diplomatic merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines, and upon diplomats, officials, and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
"In his 20 years as honorary consul general of the Philippines in Ljubljana, Mr. Kastelic has helped deepen the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Slovenia. Through his initiatives and assistance, the Philippines and Slovenia have concluded agreements on economic cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation, tourism and the establishment of a political consultations, mechanism between the two countries," Yparraguirre said.
Kastelic expressed his gratitude to President Benigno Aquino III and his government for the honor bestowed upon him and his country. He recalled his ties of friendship, spanning several decades, with the Filipino people who are permanently settled in Slovenia.
"Indeed, Mr. Kastelic is well-loved and held in the highest regard by the Filipino community in Slovenia. He has served the Filipino community with dedication, concern and warmth," a Filipino delegate from Slovenia commented.
"He inspires us a lot. He does his duties in a fatherly manner, that is why we call him 'Tatang,'" another Filipina from Slovenia said.
The Filipino community in Slovenia expressed its deep appreciation for Kastelic's work and initiatives that generated much interest in Slovenia for Philippine tourism and culture, and promoted the trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines among the business circles in the country.