A January 16, 2013, press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs
On behalf of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario conferred on Tuesday the Philippine Legion, with the rank of Chief Commander of Honor on United States (U.S.) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in simple ceremonies at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C.
Expressing appreciation for the honor, Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to strengthening the Philippines’ defense capabilities.
As Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton has signed with Secretary del Rosario the Manila Declaration, confirming the two countries’ commitment to the objectives of the Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). On the margins of the 2012 official working visit to the U.S. of President Aquino, she also signed with Secretary del Rosario a statement of support for the construction, outfitting and training of a new National Coast Watch Center for the Philippines.
Secretary Clinton strongly supported the Philippines’ advocacy for a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims over maritime areas through peaceful and diplomatic processes within the framework of international law. On various occasions, she spoke up for the common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people across the seas.
In September 2010, President Aquino and Secretary Clinton unveiled the $434 million Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth in New York. The Philippines and the U.S. are also leading members of the Open Government Partnership, continuing to promote greater government transparency and the rule of law.
Secretary Clinton oversaw the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia and reaffirmed the strong military relationship between the US and the Philippines. With Secretary del Rosario, Secretary Gazmin and Secretary Panetta, they held the first Philippine-U.S. Two Plus Two Ministerial Consultations in April 2012, providing the framework for intensified dialogue and cooperation on defense and security issues.
The Philippine Legion of Honor is the highest honor that the President of the Philippines may grant an individual without the concurrence of Congress. The highest rank, Chief Commander, is normally conferred on heads of state or governments, and distinguished individuals in recognition of their importance to the Republic or for life achievement. The first American to be conferred the rank of Chief Commander was US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (posthumous). Other Americans who have received the same honor include President Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas McArthur, and Senator Daniel Inouye.