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Hillary Clinton awarded Philippine Legion of Honor

THE country awarded US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton the Philippine Legion of Honor in simple ceremonies at the US State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario conferred the award in behalf of President Aquino.

Expressing appreciation for the honor, Clinton reaffirmed the US government’s commitment to strengthen the Philippines’s defense capabilities.

The Philippine Legion of Honor is conferred upon a Filipino or foreign citizen in recognition of valuable and meritorious service in relation to the military affairs of the Republic of the Philippines. It is the highest honor that the President of the Philippines can award to an individual without the concurrence of the Philippine Congress.

As secretary of state, Clinton had signed with del Rosario the Manila Declaration, confirming the two countries’ commitment to the objectives of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

On the sidelines of the 2012 official working visit to the US of Mr. Aquino, she also signed with del Rosario a statement of support for the construction, outfitting and training of a new National Coast Watch Center for the Philippines.

“Secretary Clinton strongly supported the Philippines’s advocacy for a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims over maritime areas through peaceful and diplomatic processes within the framework of international law,” del Rosario said.

“On various occasions, she spoke up for the common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce and transit of people across the seas.”

In September 2010, Mr. Aquino and Clinton unveiled in New York the $434-million Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth. The Philippines and the US are leading members of the Open Government Partnership, continuing to promote greater government transparency and the rule of law.

 The foreign office said Clinton oversaw the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia and reaffirmed the strong military relationship between the US and the Philippines. With del Rosario, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, they held the first Philippine-US Two Plus Two Ministerial Consultations in April 2012, providing the framework for intensified dialogue and cooperation on defense and security issues.

The award came at a time when the Philippines is having heated diplomatic exchanges with China—15 at the latest count since April last year—over Beijing’s “excessive” claims in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

Chief Commander, the highest rank of the Philippine Legion of Honor, is normally conferred on heads of state or government, and distinguished individuals in recognition of their importance to the Republic or for life achievement.

The first American to be conferred the rank of Chief Commander was US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (posthumous). Other Americans who have received the same honor include President Dwight Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas McArthur and Sen. Daniel Inouye.

In Photo: Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario confers on behalf of President Aquino the Philippine Legion of Honor on US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in simple ceremonies on Tuesday at the US State Department in Washington, D.C.







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