ORDER OF SIKATUNA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confers the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross) on outgoing Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Artemiz Sümer at Malacañan Palace's Music Room on Thursday (Aug. 25, 2022). Marcos thanked Sümer for her efforts to bolster Turkey's ties with the Philippines during her watch. (Photo from PBBM’s Facebook page)

MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross) on outgoing Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Artemiz Sümer.

Marcos gave the award when Sümer paid a farewell call to him at Malacañan Palace's Music Room.

"During her farewell call today, we conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross) Silver Distinction on H.E. Artemiz Sümer, the outgoing Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines," Marcos said in a Facebook post.

The Order of Sikatuna is an Order of Diplomatic Order awarded by a Philippine president to individuals for "conspicuous service in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines."

Marcos also thanked Sümer for her efforts to bolster Turkey's ties with the Philippines during her watch.

"We are grateful for Ambassador Sümer's efforts to strengthen ties between Türkiye and the Philippines. We also wish her well as she completes her tour of duty in the Philippines," he said.

Marcos shared several photos of him and Sümer taken during the farewell call.

State-run Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), on its official Facebook page, also uploaded a short video of the event.

The RTVM noted that Turkey is one of the nations supporting the peace process in the Bangsamoro region.

Sümer was appointed Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines in 2019.

Before her designation to the Philippines, she served as Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Oath-taking of NPC officers

Meanwhile, Marcos also led the oath-taking of newly elected officers of the National Press Club (NPC) at Malacañan Palace.

The NPC officers who took oath before Marcos were Lydia Bueno (Remate, president); Kristina Maralit (Manila Times, vice president); Paul Gutierrez (People's Journal, secretary); Mina Navarro (Abante, treasurer); and Leonel Abasola (PNA, auditor).

Malacañang has yet to release details about the oath-taking ceremony.

The NPC is one of the oldest and biggest media organizations in the Philippines.

In a Facebook post, Marcos expressed hope that the NPC and the Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) would help his administration in its bid to protect the welfare of media workers and fight disinformation.

"Tayo'y umaasa na sila'y ating magiging katuwang sa pagtaguyod sa kapakanan ng mga mamahayag at pagpapaunlad sa propesyong inaasahan ng mga Pilipino para sa tamang impormasyon (We are hoping that they will help us protect journalists and uplift their profession whom Filipinos expect to deliver the right information)," he said. (PNA)