Aquino honors outgoing Australian ambassador
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu Katangiang Ginto (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) to outgoing Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario presented Tuesday the award to Ambassador Tweddell “in tribute to Australia’s long legacy of cooperation and friendship with the Philippines.”
Twedell received the award in recognition of four years of dedicated service to developing the bilateral relationship, and contributing to the overall development of the Philippines.
“I am very honored 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,” Tweddell said in a statement.
Tweddell is a senior career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He 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 led Australia’s humanitarian response to the victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), where contributed a total of A$100 million in aid and defense assets.
In a press statement, the Australian embassy said Tweddell has “promoted the peace process, stronger defense relationships capped by the signing of the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement, supported trade expansion and liberalization, cooperation in law enforcement, border protection and counter-terrorism, and maintenance of a close, balanced and responsive development partnership.”
During the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila last November, Aquino and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed a Joint Declaration on Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership.
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, including diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered outstanding service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
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