The Government of Japan conferred its prestigious national decoration to former Defense Secretary and current Chairman of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Delfin N. Lorenzana for his instrumental role in enhancing defense relations and cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.
Lorenzana was bestowed The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by Japan Emperor Naruhito through Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko during a conferment ceremony held on Friday at the Ambassador’s official residence in Makati.
“In recognition of his awe-inspiring work on strengthening Japan-Philippines defense relations, the Government of Japan, on April 29 this year, announced the conferment of the decoration to Honorable Lorenzana,” Ambasador Koshikawa said.
“The resolute dedication and hard work put in by Honorable Lorenzana in building our defense relationship warrants tantamount recognition. This decoration embodies the deepest appreciation of the Government of Japan for his exemplary leadership and progressive achievements,” Ambasador Koshikawa added.
The Order of the Rising Sun is a Japanese decoration accorded by the Emperor of Japan to both Japanese and foreigners who made exceptional accomplishments in their fields. It was established by Emperor Meiji on April 10, 1875.
Lorenzana, who served as Defense Secretary during the administration of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte from 2016 to 2022, was cited for his strong leadership that further deepened Japan-Philippines defense relations.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to accept the prestigious Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. This recognition fills my heart with gratitude and joy, and I extend my sincerest appreciation to the Japanese government for bestowing this remarkable honor upon me,” said former Defense Secretary Lorenzana.
“I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to the people and nation of Japan for their enduring support, friendship, and belief in the bilateral relations of our two countries,” he added.
Under his stewardship as defense chief, the Implementing Arrangements concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was signed on 30 January 2019.
It was also during Lorenzana’s term that several military equipment were transferred by the government of Japan to the Philippines, including the five (5) TC90 maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Philippine Navy, the Search and Rescue Equipment for the Philippine Army, and the Php1 billion worth UH1H or “Huey” helicopter spare parts for the Philippine Air Force.
The contract for the procurement of four (4) Air Surveillance Radar Systems amounting to US$103 million for the Philippine Air Force was also signed by Lorenzana with Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2018.
Lorenzana was also commended for his participation in the conduct of the first 2+2 Defense and Foreign Affairs ministerial meetings in Tokyo on April 2022, where he and then Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. discussed with Japanese counterparts Defense Minister Nobou Kishi and Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa issues of common interest to both countries.
“In this meeting, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the partnership that is founded on common interest and shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and open economy,” Lorenzana described.
He added that the meeting led both countries to agree on increasing each of their defense capabilities, conducting reciprocal port calls/naval ship visits, transferring of defense equipment and technology, and conducting exercises between the Japan Self Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. These agreements also resulted in the participation of the Japanese military in the PH-US Balikatan Exercise on an observer status.
Lorenzana is among the four Filipino public servants included in the 106 recipients of this year’s Spring Japanese decorations.
He is currently the Chairman of BCDA, a state-run corporation mandated to develop former United States base lands and Metro Manila camps into productive economic centers under Republic Act No. 7227. This is also the primary agency helping the Armed Forces of the Philippines with its modernization program through its disposition proceeds and military replication efforts.