MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday conferred the Gawad Mabini on six Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials for their service to the country.
The Gawad Mabini, established in honor of revolutionary leader Apolinario Mabini, is conferred on Filipinos who have rendered distinguished foreign service, or helped promote the interests and prestige of the Philippines abroad.
Among the awardees was DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, who was given the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong (Grand Cross).
Manalo, who served as acting DFA chief under Duterte, was cited for his “effective management of the tension between the Philippines and China” in the wake of Manila’s victory over Beijing in the South China Sea arbitration case.
“Strengthening our foreign relations is not only a sign of goodwill, it also ensures that opportunities for trade and commerce, national security and cooperation, will prosper among nations,” Duterte said in his speech.
“Thank you for upholding and promoting our country’s independent foreign policy, strongly founded on our national interest and carried out through the diversification of our international ties to secure our political, economic, and socio-cultural objectives.”
Aside from Manalo, Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz, and Ambassador Mario De Leon Jr. were also conferred the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong.
Buensuceso was cited for her work as Permanent Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 2013.
Cruz, meanwhile, was cited for his efforts in the repatriation of Filipinos caught in the wave of demonstrations in Libya during his stint as Chargé d’Affaires at the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli.
De Leon, former Consul General in New York, was cited for pursuing the promotion of commercial relations and identification of trade opportunities between Manila and New York.
Meanwhile, Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kasugo (Commander), were conferred on Vice Consul Theodore Andrei Bauzon and Director Ryan Francis Gener.
Bauzon was cited for his work in helping distressed Filipinos in Iraq as well as introducing the online visa application system.
Gener, on the other hand, was awarded for his efforts as lead negotiator for Trade in Services of the Philippine Mission in the World Trade Organization.