Press Release
April 29, 2013


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who is bowing out of the Senate this June after four consecutive terms, has received two consecutive prestigious local and international honors anew.

The Japanese government announced today that it will confer on Angara the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, one of the highest honors it bestows on foreigners. (Refer to:

The imperial conferment will take place on May 9, during which Angara will also have an audience with Emperor Akihito at the imperial palace.

The Japanese embassy in Manila said Angara is being recognized for promoting friendly relations and developing economic cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.

In 1988, Angara became the founding president of the Philippines-Japan Parliamentarians Association (PJPA). He also headed the first PJPA delegation to Japan. He assumed its presidency anew in 1993 and is currently serving as its Secretary General.

Angara's invaluable role in enhancing bilateral economic relations through his support for the ratification of the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), among others, was also cited.

Angara joins a prestigious roster of international figures who have been given the same award, including former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, former U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, and former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

Previous Filipino awardees include Carlos P. Romulo and Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco.

"I am immensely grateful for such a tremendous honor not only for myself, but also for the country. It is proof of how deeply we have nurtured our ties with Japan, how far we have come together as genuine partners in development," said Angara.

He continued, "The ratification of the JPEPA is the strongest evidence of the strength and dynamism of our bilateral relations. It was fitting that our first free trade agreement in more than 50 years was with such an unfailing, constant partner."

"Japan has been investing in our country's development through aid and trade for decades. As we continue to strengthen these areas of our relations, we hope to further deepen linkages especially through education and cultural linkages with one of the most culturally rich and technologically innovative nations in the world," said Angara.

Meanwhile, Angara received on Sunday the degree of Doctor of Laws,honoris causa from the University of the Philippines.

The conferment coincided with the 102nd commencement exercises at U.P. Diliman, during which Angara was also the guest of honor and commencement speaker.

U.P. bestowed the highest rank and honor on Angara in recognition of enduring contributions to education; his distinguished service as university president from 1981 to 1987; his commitment to the promotion of Filipino arts and culture; his outstanding terms as leader of the Philippine bar and president of the Senate; for authoring landmark pieces of legislation on education, agriculture, healthcare, culture and the arts, social welfare, financial regulation, science and technology, and good governance over four productive six-year terms (1987-1998 and 2001-2013); and for embodying the spirit of the Iskolar ng Bayan.

(Attached is the official citation.)

"I am equally grateful for this honor because U.P. has, and will, always be close to my heart," said Angara, who graduated 8th in his U.P. Law class of 1958.

In his message, Angara challenged the graduates to take up their role as the new generation of enlightened Filipinos to lead the country toward a more prosperous future.

"You hail from an institution of leaders and game-changers, with a proud tradition of excellence and service. You must be nothing less, achieve nothing less," said the longest serving senator of the post-EDSA era.

"Regard this not as a burden, but as a mission. Remember that the only way you will justify the hard work you've accomplished, and be worthy of your country's investment, is to live a life of purpose--a purpose greater than yourselves."

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