By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has conferred the Order of Sikatuna to outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Philippines Thanatip Upatising for his contribution to the relations of the two Southeast Asian nations.
Malacañang, in a statement, said that the recognition was given to Upatising during his farewell call to the President in Malacañang on Tuesday.
“President Duterte expressed his gratitude to the outgoing ambassador for his contributions in strengthening the relations between the Philippines and Thailand,” the Palace statement said.
Duterte conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Grand Cross (Gold distinction) upon Upatising for his exemplary contributions in further strengthening the comprehensive relationship between the two countries.
The President also cited the ambassador’s key role in facilitating Thailand’s timely assistance to the Philippine government’s rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts in the war-torn Marawi City, which was the center of a five-month siege against the ISIS-inspired Maute group.
“The distinction was also given to him for his efforts in strengthening the cooperation between Thailand and the Philippines to advance peace, progress, and prosperity in the country and in the region, as well as for helping build closer relations between the people of the Philippines and Thailand,” the Palace statement added.
The Order of Sikatuna is conferred upon diplomats, officials, and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
Together with the Philippine Legion of Honor and the Order of Lakandula, the Order of Sikatuna is one of the three senior honors of the Republic.
Duterte last conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Grand Cross (Datu) Gold Distinction to then outgoing Republic of Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin in January this year.
Upatising arrived in the Philippines in April 2015 and served for almost three years. He will be assigned in Moscow, Russia after his tenure in the country.
Also present during the farewell call were Upatising’s spouse Madame Monthip Upatising, Thailand’s Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Urawadee Sriphiromya, and Consul First Secretary Rathanand Vichaidit. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano attended the event.
Duterte has been to Thailand twice since assuming the presidency. He first visited in November 2016 to pay respect to the late monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He returned four months later for a state visit.
The President described his visit to Thailand as productive and fruitful, citing the three agreements on bilateral cooperation on agriculture, science and technology, and tourism that were signed between the two countries.