GINAWARAN ng British Empire Medal ang isang Filipino na naging driver ng British envoys para sa kanyang 33 taong serbisyo sa British Embassy sa Maynila.
“Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II has honoured Mr Roland Quitevis with the British Empire Medal for his services to UK-Philippine Relations,” sabi ni British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce sa Facebook post ng embassy kamakailan. “This is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Roland’s long service at the Embassy, mostly spent as the Ambassador’s driver.”
Sa parehong Facebook post, inaalala ni Quitevis ang karanasan sa loob ng tatlong dekada sa serbisyo.
Maliban sa pagiging official driver ng walong British ambassadors, sinabi ni Quitevis na naipagmaneho na rin niya ang ilang miyembro ng British royal family.
“These include three visits by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, two visits by Princess Anne and a visit by Prince Charles. It has been such a memorable experience to me to meet each one in person,” sabi ni Quitevis.
“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,” kwento pa ng driver.
Una munang naging messenger si Quitevis sa embassy nang lumuwas sa Maynila mula Ilocos Sur sa edad na 22.
“After I was regularised, I obtained the necessary skills and was promoted to become the official driver of the Ambassador,” aniya.
“I remember being so grateful for the opportunity, which is why I have always loved every single day of it — come monsoon rains, heavy Manila traffic and day-to-day encounters with British Embassy staff in action,” dagdag pa niya.
Hindi malilimutan ni Quitevis ang bawat sandaling nakakasalamuha niya ang mga ambassadors.
“They have treated me like family and always with utmost respect.”
Ayon pa sa Pinoy, si Pruce ang nagpakita sa kanya ng oportunidad na makatanggap ng Honorary British Empire Medal (BEM) na para kay Quitevis ay “defining mometn” na kanyang laging aalalahanin.