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Indonesia to award PHL Defense chief for rescue of 8 kidnapped fishermen

INDONESIA is conferring a peace medal to the Philippine’s head of national defense for the rescue of eight Indonesian fishermen kidnapped by the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group in 2019.

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana will be the first Filipino to receive the Medali Perdamaian or Medal of Peace, to be given by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a resolution Thursday allowing Mr. Lorenzana to accept the recognition.

Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, government officials would need approval from Congress before receiving awards, presents, office, or title from any foreign government.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Nathaniel G. Imperial told the committee that the acceptance of the award would help cement bilateral ties between the Philippines and Indonesia.

The two countries, which are geographically closest through the Philippine’s Sulu province and Indonesia’s Sulawesi, have been conducting joint sea activities, including security trainings, in the Celebes Sea.

“It will be a great honor for Secretary Lorenzana to be the first ever Filipino to receive the prestigious Medal of Peace from no less than the president of Indonesia in recognition of his stewardship and leadership on rescue of Indonesians,” Mr. Imperial said.

He also asked the committee to grant similar approval for former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Cirilito E. Sobejana and the rescue team who are expected to receive the same award from Mr. Widodo. — Russell Louis C. Ku

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