33 Outstanding Overseas Filipinos and Organizations Receive Presidential Awards

 Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga

His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III honored 33 distinguished and outstanding overseas Filipinos and foreign-based organizations from 13 countries during the Awarding Ceremonies for the 2014 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas last December 5, 2014 at the Malacañan Palace. In conferring the Awards, the President was assisted by Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas, the Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

The president commended the 33 individuals and organization not only for their personal and professional achievements, but also for what they’ve contributed to the development of the Philippines and the welfare of their fellow Filipinos everywhere: “I congratulate the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino, Kaanib ng Bayan, Banaag and Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees for their efforts to better the conditions of our kababayans here in the Philippines and abroad, and representing the Filipino talent and industry in their adoptive homelands.”

Institutionalized in 1991 through Executive Order No. 498, the Presidential Awards is a biennial search for overseas-based individuals and organizations which have dedicated their work in the service and improvement of lives of Filipinos worldwide, selflessly supported relief, rehabilitation and development programs in the home country, or who have excelled in their field or profession.

The awardees were thoroughly screened from a total of 157 nominations from 29 countries by three different committees with representatives from the government, civil society, media, academe, religious and business sectors, and finally the President of the Philippines. The Presidential Awards has four categories – Kaanib ng Bayan Award, Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Award, Banaag Award, and Pamana ng Pilipino Award.

Kaanib ng Bayan Awardees

The Kaanib ng Bayan Award is conferred on foreign individuals or organizations for their exceptional or significant contribution to Philippine reconstruction, progress and development, or have significantly benefited a sector or community in the Philippines, or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.

  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Israel) – the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, which provided philanthropic assistance and continuous rebuilding efforts in areas in the Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

  • Wako Asato (Japan) – a Japanese expert in the field of Philippine migration research, who extended scholarship grants to underprivileged college students in Central Visayas.

  • Humana Child Aid Society (Malaysia) – a fully independent non-governmental organization, which operates plantation schools in remote areas, catering to the basic educational needs of thousands of “stateless” children, many of them of Filipino ancestry.

  • Dominiek Segaert (Belgium) – a Belgian educator, who initiated fundraising activities for the improvement of the quality of secondary education in Davao Del Sur.

  • Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) Awardee
  • The LINKAPIL Award is conferred on Filipino associations or individuals for their exceptional or significant contribution to reconstruction, progress and development in the Philippines.
  • Serenata (Saudi Arabia) – a children’s choir and string chamber orchestra, which is dedicated to impart excellence in music and fellowship, and support the education of less fortunate students in the Philippines.

Banaag Awardees 

The Banaag Award is conferred on Filipino individuals or associations for their contributions which have significantly benefited a sector or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.

  1. Daegu Filipino Community Council (South Korea) – a non-profit organization that promotes the welfare and well-being of Filipino migrants in Daegu, South Korea through spiritual engagement, social involvement, political and welfare services, and charity works.

  2. Danilo M. Favor (United Kingdom) – a registered nurse and the first elected Filipino councilor in East Grinstead, United Kingdom, who initiated several health-related charitable programs that have benefited the Filipino community.

  3. Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers-Central Region Chapter Saudi Arabia, IIEE-CRCSA (Saudi Arabia) – a professional organization committed in uniting and assisting in the professional development of Filipino migrant electrical engineers in Saudi Arabia.

  4. Rosa Angelica C. Libron (South Korea) – a passionate nun who was instrumental in the establishment of the Filipino-Korean Community in Guri City, and provides assistance to distressed Filipinos in South Korea.

  5. Augusto I. Mercado (USA) – founder of the wireless engineering business enterprise, Datalogix and a Filipino-community leader in Texas who assists distressed Filipino migrants.

  6. Migrant Heritage Commission (USA) – a non-profit service oriented organization which provides pro-bono services in protecting and advancing human rights of migrants and their families in the US, and supports charitable projects of several Filipino-American groups in the Philippines.

  7. Victoria B. Navarro (USA) – former President of the Philippine Nurses Association of America, who was supportive in advancing the cause of Filipino nurses in the US, and for their philanthropic activities in the Philippines.

  8. Anita A. Sasaki (Japan) – a Filipino community leader who established ‘Tahanan ni Nanay’, a half-way house for Filipinos in distress and a learning center for Filipino-Japanese children.

Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees

The Pamana ng Pilipino Award is conferred on Filipinos overseas, who, in exemplifying the talent and industry of the Filipino, have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession.

  1. Marianito O. Asperilla (USA) – an infectious disease specialist who introduced the multi-county bioterrorism response group to deal with the threat of bioterrorism in the US.

  2. Michael Cinco (UAE) – a famed fashion designer in the Middle East known for his creative couture creations that have been featured in the international fashion scene.

  3. Kristoffer L. Collo (USA) – founder of MicroPact, a leading information technology company in the US specializing in the development of case management and business process management software.

  4. Cristeta Comerford (USA) – the first Asian and woman executive chef of the US White House, serving Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama.

  5. Sheila S. Coronel (USA) – a veteran investigative journalist who serves as the Director of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, and Dean of Academic Affairs of the Columbia University.

  6. William D. Dar (India) – a champion of horticulture and the first Filipino to serve as Director General of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India.

  7. Roderick M. Dela Cruz (USA) – a Southern California Edison senior engineer who shares his expertise in the field of dam safety to the Philippines.

  8. Filomenita M. Hoegsholm (Denmark) – a strong advocate of gender equality in Europe and one of the founders of the Babaylan-Denmark, a non-profit organization that works on political, cultural-educational, and social causes to improve the situation of Filipinas in Denmark.

  9. Jonathan D. Irabagon (USA) – an award-winning saxophonist who was named one of the New York City jazz icons.

  10. Jasmine B. Lee (South Korea) – the first Filipina and foreign-born citizen to be elected in the National Assembly of South Korea.

  11. Cecile B. Licad (USA) – a world renowned classical musician dubbed as "a pianist's pianist".

  12. Sheila Lirio-Marcelo (USA) – founder of the Care.com, one of the largest online care services in the US, and advocate of women empowerment.

  13. Robert Lopez (USA) – composer of the hits songs from Walt Disney’s “Frozen” and the first Filipino EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) awardee.

  14. Katherine R. Luzuriaga (USA) – a pediatric immunologist, who was part of the team that cured an infant with HIV in the US.

  15. Baldomero M. Olivera (USA) – a chemist and distinguished professor of Biology at the University of Utah, who made ground-breaking research in cone nail toxins which is important for neuroscience.

  16. Alfredo R. Roces (Australia) – a versatile artist, anthropologist, historian, essayist and photographer based in Australia.

  17. Lea Salonga (USA) – a famed international singer, voice talent and Broadway theater actress, who exemplified the musical talent and ingenuity of the Filipino.

  18. Lolita Valderrama-Savage (USA) – a painter whose artworks were internationally exhibited in the US, Europe, and Asia.

  19. Paolo Antonio S. Silva (USA) – an ophthalmologist who made pioneering contributions in retina research in the US and helped establish the first telemedicine program for diabetic eye disease in the Philippines.

  20. Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi (France) – an internationally acclaimed painter and printmaker based in France.

The Presidential Awards is spearheaded by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, an agency under the Office of the President tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos, as well as to maintain strong and mutually beneficial ties between overseas Filipinos throughout the world and the motherland.

“In observance of the Month of Overseas Filipinos this December, we congratulate and pay tribute to this year's recipients of the 2014 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas,” said Sec. Imelda M. Nicolas, Chairperson of Commission on Filipinos Overseas. “Because they embody the best that a global Filipino can be, we salute them for their commendable efforts, exceptional professional accomplishments, and civic and humanitarian involvements that have contributed to the advancement of the adopted countries they serve, and the home country we love.”

After the Presidential Awards, the CFO is organizing the 3rd Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora at the Manila Hotel this coming February 25-27, 2015.

Known as the largest gathering in the Philippines of Presidential awardees, Filipino community leaders, and other Filipinos in the diaspora, the Global Summit aims to produce a clear vision and strategic action plan for Filipino diaspora communities for 2015 and beyond. It also encourages overseas Filipinos to engage in the different components of the Diaspora to Development or D2D – from diaspora philanthropy, diaspora investment, entrepreneurship and business; eco-tourism, health and wellness tourism, Balik-Turo; Alay-Dunong sa Bayan, legal assistance to overseas Filipinos in distress, retirement options to the rationalized coordination of medical/dental missions.

For more information about the Presidential Awards, please contact Mr. Rodrigo Garcia or Mr. Frencel Tingga of the Awards Secretariat, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Citigold Center,1345 Pres. Quirino Ave.cor South Superhighway, Manila at tel. nos.: 552-4765 to 66 or email: rgarcia@cfo.gov.ph, ftingga@cfo.gov.ph.