OUTGOING AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR CONFERRED THE ORDER OF SIKATUNA
President Benigno S. Aquino III has conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu Katangiang Ginto (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) on outgoing Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario presented the award to Ambassador Tweddell on 5 January 2016 in tribute to Australia’s long legacy of cooperation and friendship with the Philippines. The Philippines and Australia are marking 70 years of bilateral relations in 2016.
The award was also in recognition of four years of dedicated service to developing the bilateral relationship, and contributing to the overall development of the Philippines.
Ambassador Tweddell led the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) where Australia contributed a total of A$100 million in aid and defence assets. Ambassador Tweddell has also promoted the peace process, stronger defence relationships capped by the signing of the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement, supported trade expansion and liberalisation, cooperation in law enforcement, border protection and counter-terrorism, and maintenance of a close, balanced and responsive development partnership.
In the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, President Aquino and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed a Joint Declaration on Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership.
“I am very honoured to receive this award from the Philippine Government and most grateful to His Excellency, the President. Four productive years as ambassador to the Philippines, during which our bilateral ties and cooperation on regional issues has gone from strength to strength, has been an excellent final chapter of a 40-year career in Australia’s diplomatic service,” said Ambassador Tweddell.
Ambassador Tweddell is a senior career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Ambassador Tweddell has served as Australian Ambassador to Vietnam; Consul-General, Hong Kong; High Commissioner, Sri Lanka; Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom; and Deputy High Commissioner to India; with earlier postings to Greece and Bangladesh. He was also Chief of Staff to the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer. He will be retiring from public service in February after 40 years of distinguished service.
Ambassador Tweddell has been elected as Chancellor of his alma mater, James Cook University, and will take up the post in March.
The Ambassador was accompanied to the ceremony by his wife, Chris Tweddell, and by senior Australian Embassy officials.
The Order of Sikatuna was established in 1953 and is conferred by the President of the Philippines to give recognition to individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious service to the Philippines, and to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered outstanding service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario confers Order of Sikatuna on Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell
In group photo, from left: Andrew Hodges, First Secretary Economic; Richard Rodgers, Counsellor Political, Corazón "Dinky" Solíman, Secretary of Social Welfare and Development; Albert del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Bill Tweddell, Australian Ambassador; Mrs Chris Tweddell; Anthony Weymouth, Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner; Col Bruce Murray AM, Defence Attaché; Senior Inspector Paul Hopkins, Police Liaison Officer; and Nigel Preece, Acting Counsellor Immigration.
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