Last night, Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) was honored by Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with the Presidential Order of the Golden Heart. The award was presented because of Rep. Pitts' long-standing friendship and support for the Filipino people and Filipino-Americans. The award also recognized Rep. Pitts' promotion of human rights and support for legislation recognizing Filipino veterans.
Rep. Pitts' father served in the islands during World War II and returned with his family as a missionary following the conflict. After spending ten years in the Philippines, Rep. Pitts returned to the United States to attend college.
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"I'm truly honored to receive an award from the President Arroyo on behalf of people so near to my heart. The years I spent in the Philippines had a lasting impact, showing me what life was like outside of the United States and in a part of the world still recovering from the violence of World War II.
"I treasure the memories of my time in the Philippines and I've been proud to work on legislation to bring the U.S. and the Philippines closer together. I've also worked to honor the Filipino veterans who fought side-by-side with Americans to liberate the Philippines and the Pacific from the Japanese."