MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III recognized three government officials for their praise-worthy contributions to the society during the presentation of the 2014 The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awards on Wednesday.
The TOFIL Awards recipients were Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Project NOAH Executive Director Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay, and DOST-Forest Products Research forester Arsenio Ella.
They were recognized for their contributions in Governance and Public Service, Geology and Earth Science and Environmental Conservation, and Sustainable Development, respectively.
In his keynote speech, which he delivered at the Insular Life Auditorium in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, President Aquino began with lauding Singson for never backing out on a job that involved much “stress.”
“He agreed to head the Department of Public Works and Highways, which was a sacrifice on his part, especially because DPWH had a reputation for being among the most corrupt government agencies,” the President said in Filipino.
“He did more than just (manage the) spreading of cement and asphalt. He began a new culture of professionalism and honesty,” he added.
The President said that during Singson’s term, the DPWH saved about P19 billion from July 2010 to November 2013 through the process of bidding.
He commended Lagmay for using technology to benefit the Filipino people, particularly his invention of the anti-disaster Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards).
President Aquino called it “revolutionary” and stressed that the Filipinos have come a long way in preparing for and responding to calamities.
He also mentioned that the Philippines has come a long way in acquiring more accurate data and has even been recognized as a model in weather forecasting.
“(These are inventions which are) made by Filipinos for Filipinos,” the President said, describing Project NOAH as “revolutionary.”
“Giving Dr. Lagmay this recognition is also a way of saluting all scientists and other experts who chose to stay in the Philippines and use their knowledge and experience for the benefit of fellow Filipinos,” he said.
Meanwhile, he lauded Ella for his balance in taking care of the environment and addressing the needs of citizens, which were both difficult tasks.
Ella’s research focuses on the study and promotion of proper tapping of trees such as almaciga and pili to optimize resin production without damaging the tree, the President noted.
He also said that Ella’s research improved the tapping of almaciga tree which sustained yield that is concluded to prolong the life span of almaciga tree and increase the quality of the tree’s resin production, among others.
“This type of solution can only come from an expert, deep-rooted knowledge not only in his field (of expertise) but also in the communities that could benefit from his knowledge,” the President said.
“Your job is not done…we will continue to rely on you,” he addressed the awardees. “I hope you continue to serve and share your knowledge so that more Filipinos will be able to address the challenges in the future.”
The TOFIL Awards is a prestigious award co-established by JCI Senate Philippines and Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd. It has been awarded to about 120 other Filipinos since 1988. (MNS)