MANILA, Philippines?President Benigno Aquino has conferred the Order of the Sikatuna with the rank of Datu Award on US Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) at a ceremony at the Malacanang Palace.
The most senior Senator in the US Senate and concurrently the Senate President pro-tempore, Inouye was in Manila together with Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who was also conferred an award Monday by Aquino, the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Officer.
Inouye was one of the principal sponsors of the stimulus bill signed by US President Barrack Obama in August 2009 that led to the inclusion of a US$198 million lump sum package for Filipino World War II veterans.
Then Senate chairman of the appropriations committee, he fought hard to keep the veterans bill in the stimulus package despite the vigorous objections from the House and Senate who said paying Filipinos in the Philippines should not be part of the stimulus package.
His very close ties with the Filipino community in Hawaii have long endeared Inouye to many Filipinos in Hawaii, said the Philippine Consulate General in Hawaii in a statement.
In Manila, Inouye and Cochran met with , Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
The embassy said that Inouye was conferred the award ?for his steadfast and most profound friendship with the Philippines and his determined advocacy for a strong Philippine-American alliance.?
The Order of Sikatuna is the highest order of diplomatic merit of the Philippines, conferred upon officials of foreign states who have rendered the exceptional services in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.