[Update-2] NEW YORK – President Rodrigo Duterte has conferred the Gawad Mabini Award with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong (Grand Cross) for service to the country to Mario de Leon, Jr., former consul general in New York on Sept. 13.
De Leon left New York Sunday and arrived in Manila the following day. He personally received the award with his sister and sister-in-law as his special guests. His wife, Eleanor, stayed in New York because of their daughter’s recent hospital confinement.
He acknowledged the honor in his Facebook page, saying: “I dedicate this prestigious Gawad Mabini Grand Cross Award to the Filipino Community in Northeastern USA.”
Five other Department of Foreign Affairs’ diplomats also received the same honor: DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz, Vice Consul Theodore Andrei Bauzon and Director Ryan Francis Gener.
The Gawad Mabini, established in honor of revolutionary leader Apolinario Mabini, is conferred on Filipinos who have rendered distinguished foreign service, or helped promote the interests and prestige of the Philippines abroad.
De Leon was cited for pursuing the promotion of commercial relations and identification of trade opportunities between Manila and New York.
DFA Undersecretary Manalo, Ambassador Buensuceso and Consul General Cruz were also recipients of Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong.
Meanwhile, Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kasugo (Commander), were conferred on Vice Consul Bauzon and Director Gener.
De Leon served as Consul General of the Philippine Consulate General New York, with consular jurisdiction over Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont from March 2011 to 2016.
His previous assignment include serving as Minister and Consul General, Philippine Embassy, London, United Kingdom (March 2000 – December 2006); Consul and Member, Investment Promotions Unit, Philippine Consulate General, New York (June 1993 – January 1997); Third Secretary then Second Secretary, Philippine Mission to the United Nations, New York (August 1990 – May 1993); Vice Consul, Philippine Consulate General, San Francisco (August 1989 – July 1990).
A career foreign service officer, the Consul General de Leon has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy and bilateral relations. He was a member of the Philippine Delegation and Adviser to the President of the successful May 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He was a member of the Philippine Delegation to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Conference in New York in September 2009.
He participated in various capacities in several international conferences such as the UN General Assembly in New York; the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in London, United Kingdom; Substantive Sessions of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in New York; the UN ESCAP Sessions in Bangkok; as well as in Working Groups of ASEAN and APEC in the field of information technology.
He and his wife, Eleanor, have four daughters: Ana Karisma, Anna Korinna, Khristine Mae and Joyce Kathleen and an only son Josef Kriyan who passed away in 2006.
He retired from public service in 2017.
Correction: It was originally reported that De Leon was in New York attending to the recovery of his daughter who had a surgery.