THE PHILIPPINES-JAPAN SOCIETY
By unanimous resolution of its Board of Directors
proudly confers upon
SALVADOR H. LAUREL
MEDAL OF MERIT
For Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Philippines-Japan Relations
Salvador “Doy” Laurel, Born in Paco, Manila, on November 18, 1928, the eight child of Dr. Jose P. Laurel and Paciencia Hidalgo, obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines and completed his masteral and doctoral degrees at Yale University, with highest standing.
To millions of his followers and admirers, Dr. Laurel is a living hero. He has served the country with distinction and dedication, courage and integrity, in a colorful political career that spans more than three decades.
In 1967, he pioneered in free legal aid and founded the Citizen’s Legal Aid Society in the Philippines (CLASP). Winning celebrated cases for the indigent litigants of rapid succession quickly brought him to national prominence. For his brilliant record as “Defender of the Defenseless”, he was chosen “The Most Outstanding Legal Aid Lawyer of the World” by international Bar Association in Stockholm, Sweden. The same year, he was elected to the senate where he eloquently championed the cause of good government and social justice.
In 1978, during martial law, Dr. Laurel was a solitary oppositionist in the Interim Batasan Pambansa where he fearlessly and relentlessly fought for justice, freedom and democracy.
In 1980, he founded the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO) and spearheaded the rebirth of democracy in the Philippines. Hid deep nationalism was put to the test when, after being unanimously nominated as standard-bearer of UNIDO for the Presidency of the Republic, he readily gave way to the window of his bosom friend, Ninoy Aquino, just to ensure the unity and victory of the democratic opposition in the 1986 “snap elections”.
That single act of heroism paved the way for the restoration of Philippines democracy as aroused Philippine citizenry toppled an unwanted regime through an unprecedented exercise of bloodless “People Power” revolution that was witnessed by the whole world on their television sets.
At high noon, February 25, 1986, Salvador Laurel was sworn to office as Vice President of the republic. He served as Prime Minister and, later, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from, February 25, 1986 to September 8, 1987.
To head off military revolts already threatening the nation, Doy boldly advocated immediate reforms in the Cory government. Once again, he found himself in the opposition.
On June 30, 1992, Vice president Laurel set aside political and personal differences with the party in power and stood alongside President Aquino during inauguration of the Ramos Presidency in order to ensure the smooth transfer of power in a nation now recognized as a bastion of political stability in Southeast Asia.
President Fidel V. Ramos would not allow this outstanding leader of men to be without a role in his administration. On October 4, 1993, he offered Dr. Laurel the Chairmanship of the National Centennial Commission. Dr. Laurel accepted provided he served without any compensation and that that Commission was kept out of politics – to which the President agreed.
Under Dr. Laurel’s guidance the Centennial Commission successfully launched a multi-faceted five-year program highlighting the centenary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and the birth of the Philippine Republic aimed at rekindling love of country and pride in our past.
Through his efforts, the Japanese Government and leading Japanese firms put up pavilions and exhibits at the Expo Pilipino in Clark Field, Pampanga.
All throughout his checkered political career, Dr. Laurel was always a vigorous exponent of closer Philippines-Japan relations. As Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he boldly set up the Multilateral Aid Initiative in which Japan became a major donor. He initiated the holding of the Annual Foreign Affairs Sub-Ministerial Meetings between the Philippines and Japan, an innovative working forum that both governments continue to hold to this day.
For all these, Dr. Laurel is hereby conferred the highest award with the gift of the Philippines-Japan Society. Done this 26th day of February, in the Year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine, in Makati City, Philippines, on the occasion of the 21st Philippines-Japan Friendship Celebration, and the 27th Year of the Philippines-Japan Society.
JOSE S. LAUREL III BENJAMIN F. SANVICTORES
President Emeritus President
BENJAMIN F. SANVICTORES