GSIS President and General Manager Robert G. Vergara is one of the Aquino Administration’s senior officials who received the distinguished Presidential Medal of Merit, during the conferment of Presidential awards to various heads of departments and agencies, held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang Palace on Thursday.
The Medal of Merit is “granted to those who have rendered outstanding service to the President.”
The President also conferred to several Cabinet Secretaries the Order of Lakandula in recognition of “civil and political merit.”
In his message, the President emphasized:
“by giving these awards, I do not mean to diminish the contributions of those who are not receiving them. Nevertheless, I think it is incumbent upon me to give official recognition to those who have gone above and beyond even our expectations.”
He added that the awardees “have been chosen … based on your remarkable performance during our administration. But at the same time, these awards are meant to raise the bar for all.”
“You saw the hopes and dreams of our countrymen and turned them into tangible realities. You took what many considered to be impossible, and made it possible.”
Along with PGM Vergara, other senior officials who received the Medal of Merit were Socials Secretary Susan Reyes, Chief of Presidential Protocol Ambassador Celia Anna Feria, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, Climate Change Commissioner Mary Ann Lucille Sering, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman and National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Chito Cruz, Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) Chairman Cesar Villanueva, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Lilia de Lima, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Gerardo Angelito Esquivel, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Casanova.
The Order of Lakandula awardees included Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General and now Senator Joel Villanueva, Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director General Cesar P. Garcia, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Health Secretary Janet Garin, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.