MANILA– Ma. Elena Laurel-Loinaz has been conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for her contribution in bridging Tokyo and Manila relations, making her the first Filipina to be fetedunder Japan’s new Reiwa Era,
Laurel-Loinaz, daughter of first Filipino Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel III, served as the president of the Philippine-Japan Ladies Association (PJLA) for 13 years.
In a congratulatory speech, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda acknowledged the educational and socio-cultural programs she initiated at the PJLA, which encouraged exchanges between Filipinos and the Japanese.
Haneda said these programs gave the association’s members the opportunity “to share the richness of the Japanese culture” and topromote understanding of Japan’s customs and traditions.
Laurel-Loinaz was the fifth to receive such Japanese order in her family, the first being her grandfather Jose P. Laurel then his late father Ambassador Laurel III.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Laurel-Loinaz said she will continue to play an active in bringing the two nations’ people closer.
“This award is more than a tremendous honor for me and my family. In many ways, it is the continuation of a rich legacy,” she said.
“The Laurels have always been affiliated in pursuing friendly relations with the Japanese people, so I will continue as a member of the family and as a member of the affiliate organization,” she said.
Aside from her PJLA work, Laurel-Loinaz has also worked to support its affiliate organizations, including the Philippines-Japan Society, the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee, the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language and Culture, the Nihongo Center Foundation, and the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni.
Present during the conferment ceremony at Ambassador Haneda’s residence were past Japanese order awardees Philip Sanvictores and former prime minister under the Marcos administration, Cesar Virata.