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Order of Sikatuna conferred on South Korean Ambassador

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Order of Sikatuna conferred on South Korean Ambassador
President Duterte confers the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu on outgoing South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man, who paid a farewell call on the President at Malacañang the other day.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man was conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Gold Distinction Grand Cross) last Thursday in Malacañang as President Duterte thanked him for enhancing bilateral relations.

The Order of Sikatuna is the national order of diplomatic merit conferred upon diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.

During his farewell call at Malacañang, Han was hailed by Duterte for his “excellent diplomatic work.”

Since Han was assigned in Manila in January 2018, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) increased the frequency of high-level exchanges and interactions.

Duterte recalled undertaking a visit to Seoul in 2018 and to Busan for the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit last year.

He and President Moon Jae-in also met several times on the sidelines of multilateral meetings.

Duterte noted that in 2019, the ROK was the Philippines’ fifth largest trade partner, fourth largest official development assistance (ODA) source and fourth largest investor.

He also thanked Korea for its resolute support for the Philippines’ development priorities and infrastructure drive, stressing that he is looking forward to the completion of joint key projects.

These include the New Cebu International Container Port Project, the Dumaguete Airport and the Capas-Botolan Road Project.

The President also highlighted broader and deeper cooperation between the Philippines and Korea in defense, security and maritime domain awareness.

He recognized ROK’s timely emergency and humanitarian assistance in the Philippines’ counter-COVID-19 response, including its donation of face masks and other personal protective equipment, medicines, test kits and rice.

Korea’s assistance in the repatriation of 2,137 Filipinos was also emphasized.

For his part, Han thanked Duterte for the latter’s commitment to elevate the special ties between the Philippines and the ROK which the President described as “at its highest levels, so far.”

Han reiterated the importance and value of Philippines-Korea relations and reaffirmed the ROK’s commitment to continue working with the Philippines to further strengthen cooperation across all areas of mutual concern.

Han also expressed gratitude to the Filipino nation for many contributions to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, saying the ROK would not enjoy such if not for the many sacrifices of friendly nations like the Philippines.

Last Wednesday, the Senate also gave Han a tribute by unanimously passing Senate Resolution 586 which cited his more than 30 years of experience in representing Korea before the international community.

The Senate also lauded the envoy for initiating a number of Korean investments for projects in the country, such as the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 and the Jalaur Dam in Calinog, lloilo.

Han also facilitated the signing between the Philippines and Korea of a $1-billion soft loan agreement to finance multiple infrastructure projects of the country until 2022. – Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Edith Regalado

PRESIDENT DUTERTE

SOUTH KOREAN

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