Dr. Mary Lou Arcelo has been given the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for her work in developing maritime relations between Norway and the Philippines.
Dr. Arcelo was presented with the order at a ceremony held at the Norwegian ambassador’s residence in Manila on October 14th, an event attended by more than 50 guests. The Norwegian Order of Merit is awarded foreigners who have done outstanding services in the interests of Norway.
- For decades you have worked most efficiently to facilitate and develop a fruitful and mutually beneficial maritime cooperation between our two countries, the Norwegian ambassador Knut Solem said in his welcome speech to Dr. Arcelo.
Educating Filipino seafarers
From 1972 and up until last year, Dr. Arcelo was the head of John B. Lacson Maritime University, the largest institution for education of seafarers in the Philippines. Today, she works actively as the chair of the University’s board of Trustees.
Mr. Solem attributed the school’s recognized position in maritime education to Dr. Arcelo's “hard and clever work”, and said that throughout the years thousands of Filipinos have graduated from the institution to be employed on board Norwegian vessels.
The ambassador also praised Dr. Arcelo for giving extensive assistance to many Norwegian companies, and for having promoted Norway and Norwegian interests in the Philippines in different ways.
- You have simply been an extremely valuable partner for both Norwegian business and the Embassy, Mr. Solem told Dr. Arcelo.
Continuing the work
While thanking Dr. Arcelo and the Lacson University for the years of cooperation, the Norwegian ambassador also encouraged the school to continue working to increase the quality of the Philippine maritime education.
In her address, Dr. Arcelo promised to do exactly so. She said she was very grateful for the collaboration that has existed between the school and the Norwegian maritime sector since 1986, and that she hoped and aimed for a close relationship also in the years to come.
The maritime sector is the most important sector in bilateral relations between Norway and the Philippines, and Norwegian ships employ approximately 25 000 Filipino seafarers on board its international fleet.
The award ceremony for Dr. Mary Lou Arcelo was attended by Dr. Ronald Raymond Lacson Sebastian, JBLFMU Chief Executive Officer, Administrators Atty. Lorna Gellada, Dr. Ralph Pador and Capt. Luis Evidente, members of the JBLFMU Executive Council and Board of Trustees, Norwegian Shipping and Manning Company Representatives and Norwegian Embassy Personnel.