THE PHILIPPINES-JAPAN SOCIETY, Inc.
by unanimous resolution of its Board of Trustees,
proudly confers upon
PEZA DIRECTOR GENERAL
LILIA B. DE LIMA
MEDAL OF MERIT
for Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of
The Director-General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Atty. Lilia de Lima, is a multi-awarded public servant, whose presidential appointment by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995 has been extended by all succeeding three administrations, including the incumbent President Benigno S. Aquino III. The sterling performance of the PEZA is the obvious reason for this unprecedented trust and confidence bestowed on her by four Chief Executives over the last 19 years, unaffected by changes in the political landscape. And it is not an overstatement that the success of PEZA under her visionary leadership is considered to be a major prime mover behind the strong, sustained performance of the Philippine economy in all those years.
DG de Lima earned her Associate in Arts from the Centro Escolar University and her Bachelor of Laws from the Manuel L. Quezon University. She was conferred a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa by the same university (MLQU) and is a Fellow of the Academy of American and International Law of the Southwestern Legal Foundation in Dallas, Texas.
She began her career in public service as an elected delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, representing the 2nd District of Camarines Sur, one of only 13 women out of the 320 elected delegates. From 1981 to 1987, she was Director of the Bureau of Domestic Trade, then concurrently serving as Executive Director of the Price Stabilization Council, Department of Trade & Industry. From 1989 to 1994, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of the World Trade Center Manila, whereupon she was designated Commissioner of the National Amnesty Commission in 1994. In 1995, she was appointed Director-General of PEZA, a position she continues to hold with distinction to date.
PEZA is the Philippines’ most successful vehicle for attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) and since 1995, about a third of all locators in its ecozones have been Japanese corporations. Today, the 804 Japanese enterprises that are PEZA-registered account for about 25% of over 3,000 companies located in PEZA ecozones. Regardless of worldwide economic conditions, these Japanese companies have been consistent in their aggressive expansion in the Philippines, including all the largest Japanese hard-disk drive (HDD) manufacturers, the two largest Japanese chipmakers, the biggest Japanese printer manufacturers, all of Japan’s major automobile and autoparts manufacturers, one of its largest shipbuilders, the largest Japanese manufacturer of medical devices, and the largest toy maker of Japan.
The three largest banks of Japan, all the largest Japanese trading companies (Sogo Shosha) and the major trade and investment promotion agencies of Japan are very close and active strategic partners of PEZA.
PEZA enterprises have poured in almost P2 Trillion in FDIs since 1995 generating over one million direct jobs in 300 ecozones while creating another 2 million indirect employment opportunities in allied and supporting industries nationwide. In 2013 alone, PEZA firms exported US$43 Billion which is projected to increase 10% annually. At this writing, another 100 new ecozones are under development in strategic industries all over the country, such as agro-industry, information technology, high-value manufacturing, logistics and tourism.
Inculcating DG de Lima’s own personal values in the organization, PEZA is noted and highly regarded for its culture of Absolute Honesty and One-Stop Non-Stop efficiency; No Corruption, No Red-Tape, Only Red Carpet Treatment for its investors – PEZA has thus been cited by the World Bank as one of the best practices in ecozones management worldwide. PEZA is also known for catalyzing and building up a breed of exceptionally hardworking, world-class Filipino workers and professionals, as well as for creating a macro-environment that promotes and ensures peaceful, harmonious and proactive labor-management relations. Her stewardship of PEZA has reshaped and imbibed national values of institutional integrity, professionalism, honesty and excellence.
For her leading role in bringing hundreds of Japanese investors to the Philippines, the Government of Japan conferred on DG de Lima in 2006 “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star”, the highest award given to a non-head of state by His Excellency, the Emperor. In 2011, the Management Association of the Philippines named her Management Man of the Year, the first woman thus honored in its 64-year history. At the 50th Annual Academy of American and International Law, DG de Lima received the Robert Storey International Award for Leadership (again she is the first woman so recognized) for demonstrating leadership and integrity in upholding peace, justice and the rule of law in the international community. She has also been honored and recognized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (2008), the Ateneo de Manila University (2011), the Asia CEO Award (2012), , the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (2014), as well as by the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines (SEIPI) and not least, by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The University of the Philippines Los Baños even named a flower after her – Hibiscus rose-sinensis Lilia B. de Lima.
In recognition therefore of her tireless work and outstanding achievements in boosting foreign direct investments into the Philippines, resulting in the accelerated expansion of foreign trade, high value manufacturing, meaningful employment, cutting edge human resource development which all lead to sustained high economic growth, and where these significant accomplishments have been significantly underpinned with strong, strategic relations she has forged with the Japanese business community and counterpart agencies of the Japanese Government, the Philippines-Japan Society proudly confers upon Director-General Atty. Lilia de Lima the 36th Philippines-Japan Society Medal of Merit, the highest award within its gift to convey.
Given this 1st day of August in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Fourteen in Manila, Philippines on the occasion of the 36th Philippines-Japan Friendship Celebration and the 42nd year of the Philippines-Japan Society.
FRANCIS C. LAUREL
BENJAMIN C. LAUREL