Rudy Arizala receives Mabini Award
Congratulations to our beloved Rudy Arizala, who recently received the Mabini Award or Gawad Mabini in the rank of Grand Cruz (Dakilang Kamanong) from the President of the Philippines at a ceremony held at the Department of Foreign Affairs auditorium last 26 July 2012. This is a well deserved award, indeed, and we salute Ambassador Arizala for his lifelong service around the world on behalf of Filipinos and the Philippine goverment.
However, in view of Rudy's absence in the Philippines, conferment of said Award shall be done by Philippine Ambassador to Chile Ma. Consuelo Puyat-Reyes at the Philippine Embassy on 30 September 2012.
The Gawad Mabini
What is the Gawad Mabini, and how was it resurrected in the case of a retired ambassador?
The Gawad Mabini is conferred on Filipinos who have rendered distinguished foreign service, or helped promote the interests and prestige of the Philippines abroad. It was established by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 490, s. 1974, in honor of Apolinario Mabini, the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the First Republic of the Philippines. It was codified in 2003 by virtue of the Honors Code of the Philippines.
According to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Honor Code, the Gawad Mabini shall be conferred for an individual act of merit, such as: contributing substantially to the evacuation of Philippine nationals from a danger zone; individual acts f merit in the provision of consular services or the protection of Philippine nationals;
exemplary performance in an international negotiation or mission; and other individual acts of merit of the finest traditions of the Foreign Service.
The Gawad Mabini is composed of three ranks:
Grand Cross (Dakilang Kamanong) - Conferred upon a former or incumbent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Chief of Mission, Cabinet member, or other high official who heads a Philippine delegation to an important international conference on a ministerial level, and, as a result thereof, has made substantive contributions to public interest and public welfare.
Commander (Dakilang Kasugo) - Conferred upon an officer with a rank between career minister to Foreign Service Officer class IV, or upon personnel of a government agency who serves as an Attache in a Foreign Service establishment, as recommended by the Chief of Mission or the Principal Officer of the post served, as the case may be, or by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, in the case of personnel in the Home Office.
Member (Kasugo) - Conferred upon a staff officer or employee of the DFA, as recommended by the Chief of Mission or the Principal Officer of the post served, as the case may be, or by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, in the case of personnel in the Home Office.
In awarding the Gawad Mabini in the rank of Dakilang Kamanong to Rudy (retired ambassador Rodolfo A. Arizala), the DFA Award Committee took into consideration the following acts or significant accomplishments:
“For his outstanding work as an officer of the Philippine Foreign Service, 1968 to as he served in various capacities until the time he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. (AEP).
In 1979, when the Khomeini Revolution broke out, he helped in the successful
evacuation of thousands of Filipinos and the release of those in prison.
A prolific writer, he wrote books on diplomacy and authored articles on law, diplo-
macy and culture, published in journals, magazines and newspapers.
A most trusted officer of the Service, he faced all challenges in his Postings with
exemplary positive attitude and courage.
Brief Chronology of Mabini Award to Rudy
Hereunder is a brief resume of the resurrection of the Mabini Award on Ambassador (ret) Rodolfo A. Arizala -(Rudy).
On 2 March 1979, per Tehran Philippine Embassy Despatch No. 1460-79, Ambassador Rafael M. Ileto recommended to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manila, that then Minister-Counsellor Rodolfo A. Arizala be bestowed the Gawad Mabini in recognition of his “distinguished service and outstanding performance. . .” citing among others, his “energetic coordination of the Embassy project which organized the orderly and voluntary movement of the groups of Filipinos from Iran to the Philippines as the level of political threat to their security and personal safety increased and by which effort the Filipino community in Iran was trimmed to about one-third of its original size of more than 8,000 men, women and children without impairing the prestige and interests of the Philippines in that country or otherwise incurring unnecessary expenditures by the Philippine Government thereof.”
On 23 August 1979, Minister for Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo wrote Minister-Counsellor Rodolfo A. Arizala at Tehran PE - “I would like to assure you that the recommendation of a ‘Mabini Award’ for you is presently under consideration,
“Your performance in Iran as attested by Ambassador Ileto, is certainly to be commended and I am positive that it will be given proper recognition at the opportune time.”
Since then, no further action has been taken on said recommendation for a Mabini Award for Rodolfo A. Arizala until -
On 01 July 2003, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas F. Ople, in his remarks during in Memoriam Service for Ambassador Rafael M. Ileto at the DFA Auditorium said:
“Ambassador Ileto knew well those who worked with him; and recognized merit and valor. During the upheaval which led to the fall of the Shah of Iran, the Embassy safely shepared the voluntary movement and orderly departure of Filipinos to safe haven, without incurring exceptional expenditure or logistics from the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Philippine Government, and without having one Filipino lost, or maimed or wounded. Ambassador Ileto cited one of his officials, then Minister-Counsellor Rodolfo Arizala, for this role in this operation and nominated him for the Gawad Mabini. That citation was recognized by the Department of Foreign Affairs, but never enacted. It has stayed in the dusty archives.
“I join the host of soldiers and diplomats in saluting Rafael M. Ileto. But I could not add an iota to the tributes, decorations and awards of this outstanding soldier-diplomat. Because we are what we are when our chapter comes to a close. Yet I could recognize those whom he thought deserving of honor. In doing so, perhaps I can help consummate one of his unfinished business. I am therefore endorsing to H.E. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Ambassador Ileto’s nomination of Minister Arizala for the Gawad Mabini this year.
“This is how ‘Rocky’ Ileto would have it. Even in the after life, his business continues, noble spirit lives on.”
For some unknown reasons, such endorsement for a Mabini Award in 2003 remained unacted upon again somewhere in the dusty archives of the government.
Nine years later, on 18 July 2012, the Mabini Award come into the limelight again when retired Ambassador Johnny Ona sent an email message to Ma. Alejandra, the daughter of retired ambassador Rodolfo A. Arizala as follows;
“How is your Dad? We have not heard from him for quite some time. Please give him our greetings.
“Thanks a lot. God bless!”
On the same day, 18 July 2012, Ma. Alejandra replied to Amb. Ona:
“Dear Mr. Ona:
“Thanks for your concern. My father has been sick for some weeks and now starting to recover. The thing is. . .he is not in such good mood. . a bit sad I must say. . .Feeling old. . . you know. . . So, if you can write him a ‘cheer up’ mail, I am sure his recovery will be sooner than later. He is catching up with internet now. Regards,”
On the same day, 19 July 2012, Ambassador Johnny Ona wrote via email to DFA Undersecretary Seguis that Ka Rudy held so many important positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and he reproduced a brief biodata or resume of Rudy Arizala in said email message.
Aside from the brief biodata, Ambassador Ona added in his email messasge;
“The resume does not mention how he collaborated in drafting FSC 1-69 dated 2 January 1969 lifting the ban on PH diplomats from contact with their Communist counterparts; how although just a junior officer, he was drafted to head DFA’s North Borneo Office at a time when Sabah was a hot issue; how as Charge d’Affaires of Tehran PE, he bore the impact of the Khomeini revolution when thousands of PH workers had to be protected; how he was asked to open Santiago PE and became Ambassador in Chile at a time when PH-Chile relations became strained due to PH withdrawal of invitation for a Chilean State visit when President Augusto Pinochet was already in mid-flight to Manila. PH is beholden to Amb. Arizala for these and other worthy deeds.”
On 19 July 2012 Unsec Seguis wrote via email: “Let us consider these inputs to justify Dakilang Kamanong.”
On 20 July 2012 Usec Seguis wrote via email to Ka Johnny, et al:
“Fyi. . .on the recommendation of the DFA Praise Committee Ka Rudy will be decorated with Gawad Mabini with the rank of Dakilang Kamanong.”
On the same date, 20 July 2012, Ka Johnny Ona wrote via email: “That is very good news, Ka Paeng, and very fast action! How will it be conferred? Best regards.”
On 20 July 2012 Usec Paeng Seguis replied via email;
“According to the rules, the Award has to be conferred by the President to the awardee personally. Given the present health situation now, we will have to ask Amb. Baby Puyat-Reyes to confer the award to him in Santiago soon as he gets well.”
On 26 July 2012, retired Philippine ambassador Jose A. Zaide in his Column Below the Line titled: " Huli man at dumating, magaling!" in the Manila Bulletin narrated how the Mabini Award was finally bestowed to "Ka Rudy" (retired ambassador Rodolfo A. Arizala).
On 16 August 2012, Philippine Ambassador to Chile Ma. Consuelo Puyat-Reyes called former Ambassador Rodolfo A. Arizala by phone congratulating him for being awarded he Gawad Mabini in the rank of Grand Cruz (Dakilang Kamanong). She suggested to enable the awardee fully recover from his ailment, the Award Ceremony conferring on him the Mabini Award be held at the Philippine Embassy next month on 30 September 2012. Philippine Ambassador Puyat-Reyes informed the awardee that there will be a mass; awarding ceremony; followed by a lunch or “salo-salo” among the Philippine Embassy staff personnel and some members of the Filipino Community in Chile in honor of the awardee.
From the foregoing Chronology of Events, The Mabini Award became a reality as a “get-well card award.”
Awardee retired ambassador Rudy Arizala wish to thank therefore his colleagues and friends, notably DFA Undersecretary for Administration Rafael Seguis, Asst. Secretary for OPAS Millie Sta. Maria Tomasek, retired Philippine ambassadors Jose F. Zaide and Juan (Johnny) Ona, to mention a few, who one way or another contributed or were instrumental in making the Mabini Award to him a reality.
Special thanks go to His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines and to the Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario who, after 33 years the recommendation for a Mabini Award having been unacted upon, finally in 2012, promptly acted favorably on the 1979 recommendation of the late Ambassador Rafael M. Ileto and of the late Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas F. Ople in 2003. They were convinced that the awardee deserved such recognition and honor.
It may be said then that while the recommendation for a Mabini Award has been in “Winter Hibernation” for 33 years since its inception in 1979, in 2012, it has came to life in the “Spring of the remaining years” of a retiree.
In addition to 2012 Mabini Award in the rank of Dakilang Kamanong, ambassador Rudy Arizala was the recipient of the following awards, honors & decorations: Argentina Gran Maestre de la Orden de Mayo, grado de Comendador, 1977; Chile Orden al Merito en el grado de Gran Cruz, 1989; New Jersey, U.S.A., World Trade Center Council Consul of the Year Award, 1992; Phil-American Executive Council, Inc., Outstanding New Yorker Award 1994; Outstanding Quezonian Award (MLQ's Medalya ng Karangalan) for International Relations, 1995; President Corazon C. Aquino / DFA Most Distinguished Service Award, 1999; Another DFA Distinguished Service Award, 2012; and Lyceum of the Philippines University Outstanding Diamond Jubilee Alumni Award in Foreign Service.