A conferment ceremony hosted by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Kazuhide Ishikawa at his official residence was held in honor of two Filipinos chosen to be recipients of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2015.
The awardees—the late Sylvano Mahiwo, Ph.D., a former professor at the Asian Center, University of the Philippines-Diliman and Gerard Sanvictores, current vice president of the Philippines-Japan Society and a former partner of SGV & Co.—were selected in recognition of their outstanding efforts and valuable contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding, goodwill, and friendly relations of Japan with the Philippines.
Dr. Mahiwo was acknowledged for his active role in the proliferation of Japanese studies and scholarship in the Philippines, as well as his achievements as head of Japanese Government scholars’ alumni organizations. He served as a scholarship consultant to the Embassy of Japan for twenty years, mentoring countless aspiring and incoming scholars and traveling around the country to promote academic programs by the Japanese Government. He has also championed numerous initiatives that further strengthened Japan-Philippines relations through his different affiliations, including; the Philippine Association of Japanese Government Scholars (PhilaJames), which expanded significantly under his Presidency from 1995 to 1997; Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PhilFeja) as a Secretary-General from 2005 to 2010; and at ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA), where he was Secretary-General for the Philippines from 2005 to 2010. In addition, Dr. Mahiwo provided his expertise to various business groups that turned to him for Japanese socio-political and cultural wisdom. He has also authored, translated, and edited influential papers on issues concerning Japan and the Philippines.
Sanvictores, on the other hand, was recognized for his strong involvement, dedication, and leadership in several Japanese and Philippine-oriented organizations, such as the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PhilJec) and the Philippines-Japan Society primarily as a negotiator, financial strategist, and adviser. He has also been instrumental in establishing strong links among Japanese and Philippine business and finance entities by providing efficient and reliable assurance, audit, and consulting services to these institutions while he was still at SGV & Co. In his current capacities as co-chairman of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PhilJec); vice president of the Philippines-Japan Society; and as a trustee of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, Inc., he continues to promote and facilitate partnerships and collaborations among professionals and institutions based in the Philippines and Japan.