MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu, Katangiang Ginto (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) on outgoing Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe.
Ambassador Urabe, together with the Japanese Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano and Political Minister Hironori Shibata, paid a farewell call on the President at the Music Room of Malacañang Palace.
Present during the conferment ceremony were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.
Ambassador Urabe was cited for “his significant contribution to the peace process and development in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.”
Last March 20, Ambassador Urabe signed eight grant contracts with recipient organizations for various social development projects in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. These projects were funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) implemented by the Japanese Embassy as part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).
The Order of Sikatuna is an Order of Diplomatic Merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines. (MNS)