Queen Elizabeth II honored a Filipino driver with the British Empire Medal for his long service chauffering British ambassadors to Manila and some members of the Royal Family in their Philippine visits.
In a Facebook post, British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce announced that Roland Quitevis was recognized for his “services to UK-Philippines relations.”
“I am delighted to announce that Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II has honored Mr. Roland Quitevis with the British Empire Medal for his services to UK-Philippine Relations,” Pruce said.
“This is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Roland’s long service at the Embassy, mostly spent as the Ambassador’s driver,” he continued.
Quitevis served as the official driver of eight British ambassadors in the Philippines in his 33 years of service at the British Embassy.
He has also driven some members of the Royal Family during their visits to the country, particularly Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Anne and Prince Charles.
“It has been such a memorable experience to me to meet each one in person,” the Ilocos-born driver said.
“In fact, during the most recent visit of Princess Anne to the country, she commented that I was very young when she first came to Manila and visited the indigenous community in Clark in the aftermath of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption,” Quitevis recounted.
He also took two comprehensive driving courses in the United Kingdom from 1999 and 2013, where he was able to attend specialized trainings and boot camps meant to enhance his skill as a diplomat driver.
Quitevis’ former colleagues at the embassy were delighted over his the recognition, prompting them recount their days with him.
“Congratulations, Manong Gob!!! I still remember the very first day I started working for the British Embassy, palagi mo ako tinutukso. So proud of your achievements. For sure Manang Arlene Hernaez and the rest of your family feel the same!” Facebook user Jinky Ikay wrote.
“Fantastic! Well deserved Roland! Still have very fond memories of our time in the Philippines (1993 – 1996) Congratulations!” Eileen Newlands wrote.
He was also honored with the Service Recognition Award for his excellent service by former British envoy Stephen Lillie.
Quitevis first worked for the British Embassy as a messenger after moving to Manila from Ilocos Sur at the age of 22. He was promoted as the British envoy’s official driver after further enhancing his skills and abilities.
What is the British Empire Medal?
The British Empire Medal (BEM) is awarded to individuals who have been recognized by the British Crown for their “meritorious civil or military service.”
It recognizes a “hands-on” service to the local community which could be a long-term charitable or voluntary activity or an innovative work that has made “significant difference” in a short duration of 3 to 4 years.
Recipients of this medal are entitled to use the post-nominal letters “BEM” after their name.
Previous individuals who have been recognized are footballer Stephen Baxter, British councilor Kevin Nicholson and mountaineer John Stokes.