President Benigno S. Aquino III led Wednesday the 2012 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas at Malacanang and exhorted the awardees to work together in helping rebuild the areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo.
“I am seeing a greater spirit of cooperation among our fellow citizens… and I am confident that those of you who have always been giving generously in the past will take the time to lend a helping hand where it is needed,” the President said in his message during the event.
At this time of rebuilding for our people, let us work together in the spirit of bayanihan—the spirit that has always pushed our country past any adversity and towards a better tomorrow,” he said. He also encouraged Filipinos to continue aiming for greatness as well as to continue strengthening their roots, which is the country’s collective identity and shared pride.
The Philippines, as a newly revitalized nation, is showing greatness in any field, the President said.
“In this new chapter of our history, Filipinos everywhere in the world are increasingly finding ways of working together in this constant quest for excellence, so that we may fulfill the collective aspirations of our people sooner rather than later,” he said.
The President’s 16-point Social Contract with the Filipino people highlights his administration international migration policy aimed at improving the Philippine economic condition so that Filipinos do not have to leave and find work abroad.
In this policy, working abroad must be a choice rather than a necessity and while the government works in this goal, the administration’s top priority is to ensure the welfare and protection of Filipinos working abroad.
In 1991, President Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, signed Executive Order No. 498 establishing the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas.
The honor is a biennial award with the following categories: Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino, Banaag and Pamanang Pilipino. There is also another category called Kaanib ng Bayan which is bestowed on foreign individuals or organizations for their exceptional philanthropic works in the Philippines or in Filipino communities abroad.
These awards are conferred on outstanding overseas Filipino, individuals or organizations, who contributed to the country’s development and promoted the interests of overseas Filipinos.
This year’s Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino awardees were Dr. Manuel Cacdac (US), Dr. Christopher Guerrero (US) and Aguman Kapampangan UK (UK). Two individuals were given the Kaanib ng Bayan award, they are Dr. Gnon Haba (Israel) and Dr. Christian Loehlein (Germany).
The recipients of the Banaag Award were Engr. Carlito Alpay (Saudi Arabia), Lawyer Imelda Argel (Australia), Tomas Avendano Sr. (Canada), Rafael Castanos (US), Filipiniana-Europa VZW, Filipino Community of Seattle (US), Filipino Digerati Association (United Arab Emirates), Luzviminda Micabalo (US), Al Perez Jr. (US), Lt. Eric Michael Quema (US), Robert Santos (UAS), Stichting Bayanihan (The Netherlands), and Ma. Luzviminda Tsai (Taiwan).
Receiving the Pamana ng Pilipino award were Engr. Mary Jane Al-Mahdi (United Arab Emirates), Dr. Delia Amaya (Brazil), Dr. Samuel Bernal (Czech Republic), Dr. Antonio Fernando III (New Zealand), Almira Astudillo Gilles (US), Dianne Monique Lhuillier (US), Allan Pineda (US), Dr. Ruth Elynia Mabanglo (US), Jorge Ortoll (US), Eric Spoelstra (US) and Dr. Francisca Tolete-Velcek (US).
Among those who joined the President during the awarding rites were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Commission on Filipino Overseas Secretary Imelda Nicolas.