THE Government of Japan, through its embassy in Manila, announced on April 29 the decoration of four Philippine nationals for the 2023 Spring Conferment:
Alberto G. Romulo (Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun): He served as the Philippines’s secretary of Foreign Affairs (SFA) from 2004 to 2011. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations with Japan, Romulo contributed to the formulation of the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement: “Partnership between Close Neighbors for Comprehensive Cooperation,” which forms the basis for the current strategic partnership between the two nations.
By leading negotiations on the “Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement,” the former SFA helped elevate the two countries’ economic relationship to new heights. He also spearheaded the launch of the Japan-Philippines Politico-Military Dialogue which saw the two parties exchange views on wide-ranging matters such as the regional situation in the Indo-Pacific, as well as important political and security issues.
Delfin N. Lorenzana (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star): He served as the country’s secretary of National Defense from 2016 to 2022. During his term, defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and the Philippines were greatly enhanced, particularly with the participation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces in joint exercises with the armies of the Philippines and the United States.
It was also under his tenure in 2020 that a contract was concluded between the Department of National Defense and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Corp. for the delivery of air-surveillance radar systems, which marked the first overseas transfer of defense equipment with Japan and bolstered the two nations’ defense-equipment and technology cooperation. Lorenzana’s strong leadership paved the way for the further deepening of mutual defense relations.
Gamaliel A. Cordoba (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon): As head of the National Telecommunications Commission from 2009 to 2022, he made significant contributions to advancing cooperation in the field of telecommunications. In particular, he vigorously promoted the application of ISDB-T: a Japanese-devised terrestrial digital television-broadcasting standard. He greatly contributed to the Philippine government’s decision to adopt such in June 2010, and to its reaffirmation in November 2013.
Furthermore, Cordoba initiated efforts for the smooth launch and dissemination of ISDB-T in the Philippines, in cooperation with the Japanese public and private sectors.
Dr. Cynthia Neri Zayas (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette): She is the Philippines’s leading maritime anthropologist and foremost Japanologist. Having completed her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Japan, the scientist collaborated with Japanese anthropologists in pioneering maritime anthropological studies in the Philippines.
Dr. Zayas’s internationally recognized works on the cultures of disasters and free women divers, or ama in Japan, have deepened understanding of Japanese society worldwide.
Also instrumental in introducing Japanese traditional performing arts locally, she continues to promote Japanese culture and society through her research and professorial stints at the University of the Philippines.
The embassy relayed the government of Japan’s warm congratulations to the four outstanding Filipinos, plus an appreciation of their significant contributions to forging stronger ties with the Philippines. (Photos courtesy of the Embassy of Japan’s Facebook page.)
Image credits: Embassy of Japan’s Facebook page