Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez delivers his remarks at a welcome reception upon his arrival in Washington, D.C.in 2017. | Philippine Embassy Photo
NEW YORK – President Rodrigo Duterte conferred a top honor to the Philippines’ envoy to the U.S., Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, with the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu, Gold Distinction in recognition of his efforts in strengthening the long-standing comprehensive and thriving ties between the Philippines and the U.S.
“The Order of Sikatuna is one of the three senior honors of the Republic conferred upon Filipino and foreign diplomats who have made immense contributions to the foreign relations of the Philippines and its geopolitical standing. This afternoon, my good friend Ambassador Jose Manuel ‘Babe’ Romualdez will join the distinguished roster of the Order of Sikatuna awardees,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in his remarks.
Gunther Sales, the embassy’s former minister, and consul accepted the award on the ambassador’s behalf at Malacanang Palace in the Philippines. The ambassador virtually joined the conferment ceremony from Washington, DC.
As Philippine envoy, Romualdez “further deepened the Philippines-US alliance through enhanced defense and security cooperation, particularly in maritime security and the upgrading of Philippine defense capabilities; for promoting trade and investment resulting in the recent entry into the Philippines of US-based SBA Communications, thereby advancing the development of the country’s telecommunications technology backbone.”
President Duterte appointed Romualdez as Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines to the U.S. in July 2017. Romualdez presented his letter of credence to U.S. President Donald J. Trump on Nov. 29, 2017 at the White House. U.S. government officials, Washington foreign diplomatic corps members, and business community leaders welcomed him at a reception tendered in December 2017 at the Philippine Embassy’s historic Chancery Annex building.
“I intend to secure a deeper partnership with the U.S. that injects dynamism in our economic, security, and people-to-people relationships,” Romualdez remarked during the reception. “This deeper partnership I speak of is more than aspirational. I will ensure that the relationship evolves into one that is more pro-active and responsive to our common interests and concerns.”
He is concurrently the Philippines emissary to the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti; the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Saint Kitts, and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Saint Lucia. He succeeded Jose Cuisia, Jr., who served in Washington from July 2011 to June 2016. — With Ricky Rillera