MANILA, Sept 4 (Mabuhay) –Â President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) on outgoing Republic of Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Hye-Min in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the foundation of friendly bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea during ceremonies held in Malacanang Palace on Monday.
The Chief Executive conferred the award during Ambassador Leeâ€™s farewell call at the Music Room in MalacaÃ±ang Palace on Monday afternoon.
Ambassador Lee was accompanied by Ki-Hwan Kweon, Counsellor for Political Affairs; Jae Hoon Lim, Counsellor for Economic Affairs; Hyun Yong Chin, Counsellor and Consul and Kyong-Ho Min, Minister and Consul General. Also in attendance was Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario who witnessed the conferment rites.
The citation was read by former Ambassador Miguel A. Perez-Rubio, presidential chief of protocol.
Ambassador Lee was cited in the field of international relations and for facilitating official development assistance in support of his country to the various projects of the Philippine government.
During his tour of duty to the Philippines, Ambassador Lee was commended for his significant contribution in setting up the P150-M modern rice processing facility in Iloilo to help stabilize the rice supply in the country. The facility was inaugurated last March.
The Iloilo rice processing complex (RPC) is one of the four facilities funded by a grant from the Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency.
Last August, President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the signing of a loan agreement between the Philippines and South Korea for the Jalaur River Multipurpose Irrigation project in Iloilo.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima signed the $207.88 million loan agreement with the Export Import Bank of Korea (Korea EXIM Bank) Executive Director Sang-Wan Byun for the construction of the multipurpose irrigation project.
The loan agreement also marked the largest-scale assistance for a single project extended by the South Korean government to the Philippines through South Koreaâ€™s Economic Development Cooperation Fund since its establishment in 1987. (MNS)