President Aquino led the conferment Thursday of presidential awards to heads of departments and agencies who served his administration.
In his speech during the conferment of presidential awards, the President said people who joined his Cabinet gave up their high-paying jobs and time with their families to serve the government.
“Some of you have put your own lives in peril, not once but multiple times, responding to disasters both natural and man-made,” he said.
“Each of you has shared in the burden, and each of you has made it a little bit easier to carry the responsibility of bringing hope and a better life for our people.”
The President recognized their contributions, noting those officials energized the bureaucracy and made an impact on the lives of the people, making the impossible possible.
“As we leave office, we can do so with our heads held high, because we’ve done right by the Filipino people. Thus, on behalf of our people, and from the bottom of my heart, I must say: Thank you very much,” the President said.
As they leave office on June 30, the President said they must continue to do their own, small part in the grand task of building a nation.
He said that he hopes that even on an unofficial level, they may still find themselves working together as fellow citizens for a progressive Philippines.
Among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Merit include Susan Reyes, Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Social Secretary; Celia Anna Feria, Chief of Presidential Protocol; Emmanuel Esguerra, Director General of National Economic and Development Authority and Secretary of the Socio-Economic Planning;
Manuel Quezon III, Undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office; Lilia de Lima, Director General Philippine Economic Zone Authority; Gerardo Angelito Esquivel, Administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System; Robert Vergara, President and General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System; Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority;
Mary Ann Lucille Sering, Secretary of the Climate Change Commission; Chito Cruz, Chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and General Manager of the National Housing Authority; Cesar Villanueva, Chairman of the Governance Commission for Government Owned or Controlled Corporations.
Those conferred with Order of Lakandula were Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Director General of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; Luwalhati Antonino, Chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority; Cesar Garcia, National Security Adviser and Director General of the National Security Council; Mario Montejo, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology;
Ramon Jimenez, Secretary of Department of Tourism; Mel Senen Sarmiento, Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government; Corazon Soliman, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Janette Garin, Secretary of the Department of Health;
Voltaire Gazmin, Secretary of the Department of National Defense; Rosalinda Baldoz, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment; Armin Luistro, Secretary of the Department of Education; Rogelio Singson, Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (represented by his family); and Jose Rene Almendras, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs/ Cabinet Secretary/ Secretary of the Department of Energy. PND (as)