After extensive deliberation of 117 nominations from 31 countries across Asia, North and South America, Europe, and Australia, 56 marvelous Filipino individuals and organizations based abroad are set to receive the most prestigious accolade the Philippine government bestows upon overseas Filipino individuals and organizations who have uplifted lives through philanthropic initiatives and exceptional contributions in their respective fields of work. These esteemed individuals and entities will be awarded the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) during an awarding ceremony at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City today at 5:00 p.m. Tune in via live stream at 5:00 PM (Manila GMT +8) through the Presidential Awards Facebook page (facebook.com/gawadpangulo).
On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, CFO Secretary and Chairperson Francisco P. Acosta (Ret.) will preside over the ceremony and confer the 2021 Presidential LINKAPIL Award on 7 Filipino individuals and organizations, the 2021 Presidential Pamana ng Pilipino Award on 17 Filipinos overseas, the 2021 Presidential Banaag Award on 26 Filipino individuals and organizations, the 2021 Presidential Kaanib ng Bayan Award on 5 foreign nationals and organizations, and a Special Citation on a Filipino American Organization.
Institutionalized in 1991 through Executive Order No. 498, PAFIOO is a biennial search for individuals and organizations based abroad who have dedicated their work to the service of Filipinos. It has four distinct categories: Kaanib ng Bayan, Lingkod Sa Kapwa Pilipino, Banaag, and Pamana ng Pilipino.
The LINKAPIL Award is conferred on Filipino individuals or organizations for their exceptional or significant contribution to progress and development in the Philippines. Recipients of the LINKAPIL Award are as follows:
1. Dr. Roxanne Racquel A. Cajigas (United States of America/Eastern Samar) – An educatorl in New York City who revived the annual implementation of the Association of Fil-Am Teachers of America’s Balik-Turo program, which aims to share knowledge and best practices in pedagogy, and initiates global collaboration among teachers to benefit the school children.
2. Mrs. Vivian Kiefer-Vargas (Switzerland/Manila) – A community leader in Switzerland who has led millions worth of fund-raising efforts that benefited local communities in Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Taguig. She became the President of the Philippine Swiss Association and Maharlika-Switzerland, which both helped Filipinos migrants in Switzerland to preserve their Filipino culture.
3. Batangas Association UK (United Kingdom) – A civic-oriented non-profit organization responding to the needs of underprivileged communities in the Philippines in times of calamities by extending monetary assistance, relief goods, and joining volunteer work in affected areas during natural disasters.
4. Kayumanggi Chorale, Inc. (United States of America) – A charitable organization composed of Filipino talents headlining musical concerts to raise funds for the benefit of the disadvantaged communities in the Motherland. It is also instrumental in propagating the cultural and social significance of Philippine musical heritage.
5. Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers – Qatar Chapter (Qatar) – Established in 2007, it sustains humanitarian efforts and outreach programs to assist different areas of the Philippines in times of need and distress. PICE Qatar is considered one of the most outstanding and active PICE Chapters around the globe.
6. Filipino Association in the Isle of Man (Isle of Man) – Its community activities helped fund the organization’s various causes and charity works in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, consequently catalyzing the promotion of the Filipino culture and heritage on the island.
7. The Filipino Catholic Society of the Diocese of Calgary (Canada) – It serves its parishioners by sustaining spiritual guidance and keeping the community’s faith. It also supports orphans, street children, calamity victims, and human trafficking survivors in the Philippines.
This award is conferred on Filipino individuals or organizations for their contributions that have significantly benefited a sector of the diaspora or advanced the cause and interest of overseas Filipino communities. The Banaag awardees are:
1. Mario A. Balboa (Saudi Arabia/Ilocos Norte) – An electronics engineer who founded the Saudi Arabia-based Philippine Council of Engineers and Architects (PCEA) and Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines (IECEP) Riyadh Chapter; both of which have delivered vital contributions to the field of Electronics Engineering and its people.
2. Bella Aurora P. Belmonte (United States of America/Ilocos Norte) – President and Co-Founder of the Filipino-American Political Organization With Equal Representation (Fil-Am P.O.W.E.R.), which provides education and assistance to Filipinos in obtaining US citizenship. Her projects at Fil-Am P.O.W.E.R. promoted inclusivity and placed the face of Filipino-Americans in the political, government, business, social, and cultural maps of Nevada.
3. Ariel C. Bernardo (South Korea/Isabela) – Currently the head pastor of the Diaspora International Christian Ministries (DICM), a Filipino-led church in South Korea. He is also the founding Secretary-General of the Philippine Organization of International Ministers and Evangelizing Nations (POIMEN), an interdenominational organization of Filipino church leaders and ministers in South Korea. PABAON: An OFW Kit, Ang Gabay sa Matagumpay na Pangingibang Bansa”, a guidebook on ways in adjusting and adapting to a foreign country as a migrant worker.
4. Roy G. Betinol (Chile/Davao) – Former President of the Filipino Community in Chile, whose support for the welfare and interests of fellow overseas Filipinos continued even after his term. Given his extensive charity and humanitarian efforts, he is revered as a pillar of the Filipino community in Santiago, Chile.
5. Vanda Marie M. Brady (Ireland/South Cotabato) – A community volunteer and leader committed to the advancement and empowerment of young migrants, women, and other marginalized groups. She has formed multiple community organizations such as the Filipino Association of Cavan, the Cavan Cross-Cultural Community, Outreach Ireland, and the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFID)-Ireland.
6. Alex Chiu (+) Posthumous Award (Canada/Pampanga) – One of the visible minority politicians in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). He broke the glass ceiling of political power and used his platform to further the development of Filipinos’ influence in his Canadian community while advancing their interests and causes. He also established the Rainbow Centre which assists distressed Filipino domestic workers.
7. Aurora B. Dacanay (Canada/Manila) – An educator who initiated the advancement and implementation of the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation (PCCF) Scholarship Program for Filipino youth, and actively participated in the accreditation of the Filipino language curriculum in the Alberta education system known as Filipino 15, 25, and 35 for Senior High School courses in Calgary, Alberta.
8. Nancy S. De Jesus (France/Rizal) – A practicing Clinicienne Specialisée coordinating patient therapeutic education and health education for a French government hospital. She is one of the consultants on drafting the World Health Organization’s Global Learning Strategy 2021, which aims to make lifelong learning in health a genuine force for improving people’s health. She also led an education campaign for fellow Filipinos during the height of COVID-19 by translating numerous protocols and outlining health information based on official French health guidelines.
9. Rose Cheryl P. Eclarinal-Murdock (United Kingdom/Camarines Norte) – A journalist who dedicated herself to providing Filipinos not only with accurate and helpful information but also a medium for their voices to be heard. She has written on the plight of domestic workers and nurses in the UK, the plight of Filipino fisherfolk in Northern Ireland, and human trafficking in Malta. She also conceptualized, sourced funding for, and produced the magazine show Juan EU Konek
10. Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc. (Canada) – Embodying unity, duty, and obedience to God, this organization is in the service of volunteerism and philanthropic causes. It leads the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) humanitarian advocacies and projects, relieving and alleviating poverty by providing basic needs to those in need.
11. Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (United States of America) – A non-profit organization that promotes Filipino culture and upholds the health and well-being of the Fil-Am community. During its early years, the organization focused on the establishment of Park View House, designed to cater to the socio-economic needs of Fil-Am World War II veterans.
12. Fernandico Q. Gonong, Jr. (United States of America/Davao del Sur) – He has been at the forefront of projects and activities of various organizations that seek to empower Filipinos in the Los Angeles area. He also leads other Filipino communities and civic organizations and helps raise funds to assist Filipinos in the USA and the Philippines.
13. Igorot UK Charity (United Kingdom) – Founded in 1995, it is primarily devoted to the integration and assimilation of its members into their host country while continuing to sustain their Igorot culture. Through the years, it helped instill a sense of pride in being an Igorot in the diaspora by showcasing the uniqueness of Filipino culture in the United Kingdom through community projects and engagements.
14. Kapatiran at Ugnayan ng Natatanging Sining at Talento (Germany) – Established in 2004, KUNST promotes performing and visual artists by organizing local and international art exhibits that foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Filipino culture among foreign nationals and the diaspora, and inspires numerous Filipino artists to showcase their unique Filipino identity.
15. Venecio V. Legaspi (Saudi Arabia/Northern Samar) – An influential leader who safeguarded the interests of the Filipino community by undertaking various initiatives and advocacies in favor of overseas Filipinos and migrant workers, especially distressed OFWs, in close coordination with the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in Jeddah and Riyadh.
16. London Filipino Centre CIC (United Kingdom) – A social enterprise organization dedicated to promoting the Filipino language, arts, culture, sports, and recreation. It operates for two semesters and offers various Filipino courses including the Baybayin Design and Culture, a 5-week course on the indigenous Philippine writing system.
17. Bennette E. Misalucha (United States of America/Cebu) – A State Senator of Hawaii representing Senate District 16 in the State Legislature. She has vast years of accomplishments in community work to advance the interest of the Filipino community while fulfilling civic duties. She has also vast years of accomplishments in community work to advance the interest of the Filipino community while doing volunteer work.
18. National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth (United States of America) – An organization dedicated to delivering programs and services for the elderly and youth in the US by catering to and supporting their social, psychological, emotional, and overall well-being. Its organizational arm, the Advocates for Children and Elders International-Philippines (ACEIPI), facilitates programs that fight poverty and promotes children’s rights and calamity resilience.
19. Rolando M. Nicolas (Saudi Arabia/Pangasinan) – He is instrumental in bringing Filipino electrical engineering professionals to a greater height of pride, accolade, and international recognition in Saudi Arabia. Currently, he is one of the mentors for the Professional Electrical Engineers (PEE) aspirants in preparation for the Technical Upgrading of PEE given by the Board of Electrical Engineering of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in Manila, and a reviewer for the annual Special Professional Licensure Examinations (SPLE).
20. Linda Nietes-Little (United States of America/Antique) – She is the owner of the Philippine Expressions Bookshop, a bookshop dedicated to Filipino Americans searching for their roots. For 37 years now, her bookshop has been hosting regular publication parties, book talks, and lectures on Philippine culture by visiting Filipino scholars, poetry readings, and other literary soirees throughout the year, placing Filipino and Filipino American authors on the literary map of Los Angeles.
21. Philippine Bayanihan Association of Alberta (Canada) – Founded in 1968, this organization serves Filipino immigrants through its fund-raising activities. Through fund-raising activities, it generated a “legacy fund” that was utilized in various initiatives and causes. It has funded health-related projects and provided substantial donations to various hospitals and foundations.
22. Philippine American Friendship Community, Inc. (United States of America) – An organization deeply involved in public education, health care, immigration, and other relevant issues affecting Filipinos in the US. It provides intergenerational services to nurture traditional family and cultural values. It organizes an annual Filipino parade and festival which celebrates the uniqueness and strong friendship between the Philippines and the US.
23. Dennis N. Rata (Kuwait/Aklan) – Knowing the plight of his fellow kababayan in Kuwait, helping OFWs in distress has become his lifetime commitment and advocacy. He relentlessly refers and coordinates with authorities and organizations regarding the various concerns of OFWs and their families in the Philippines.
24. Jannelle So-Perkins (United States of America/Manila) – A journalist and media personality who utilized her platform to reveal different stories concerning the lifestyle of the Filipino American community. She produced the talk show Kababayan Today (formerly Kababayan LA). She launched a weekly lifestyle magazine TV show, SO Jannelle, which tackles issues and current events that are often overshadowed but of great relevance to the Filipino community.
25. Cristy M. Vicentina (Singapore/Pampanga) – Currently the General Manager and Regional Head for Asia and Oceania of PNB Singapore, she uses her knowledge of financial matters to empower the overseas Filipino community in Singapore. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she re-introduced online remittances to protect Filipinos with their transactions and aggressively re-marketed the Pangarap Loan, a short-term financing product that allows OFWs to start small businesses.
26. Elija Paul G. Villanueva (United Kingdom/Manila) – A volunteer teacher and photographer, and a former Commander of the Knights of Rizal in London. He co-founded YAPAK, a voluntary group based in London which organizes various activities that foster the talent and skills of young Filipinos in the Philippines and the UK.
Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees
This award is conferred on overseas Filipino individuals, 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. Following are the Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees:
1. Russ Patrick P. Alcedo (Canada/Aklan) – A dancer, researcher, professor, designer, and filmmaker. His research explores the intimate but paradoxical relationship between folk festival production and notions of cultural authenticity, intending to preserve traditional, communal expressions of cultural heritage that adapt to the forces of modernity.
2. Glenda Lynna Anne T. Bonifacio (Canada/Leyte) – She is an expert in women and gender studies and a remarkable scholar who made significant contributions to academic research on gender and migration. She is a Full Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and an active Research Affiliate of the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy.
3. Josefino C. Comiso (United States of America/Ilocos Sur) – He is one of the world’s leading experts in polar science. He started working at NASA indirectly as a Computer Science Corporation Senior Consultant and was hired as a Physical Scientist at NASA Earth Science Directorate. At present, he works as a Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at NASA and is an Adjunct Professor at UP, researching drought vulnerability, reforestation, and deforestation.
4. Sheila Maria A. Conejos (Singapore/Leyte) – She is a licensed architect, urban and regional planner, forensic architect, heritage manager, and sustainable development specialist in tropical Asia. In line with her career as an academic, she dedicates a significant amount of effort to research, contributing to the growing body of literature in architecture, urban planning, and sustainability.
5. Danilo M. Favor (United Kingdom/Camarines Sur) – A registered nurse and East Grinstead Town Councilor and former Town Mayor. He became involved with various community groups and Filipino organizations in East Grinstead and the surrounding areas since 2009. He received the Banaag Presidential Award for outstanding service to the local Filipino community in the United Kingdom in 2014.
6. Glenn F. Fernandez (China/Zamboanga del Sur) – An Associate Professor at the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR), Sichuan University in Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has been involved as principal investigator, coordinator, or researcher in numerous international research and capacity development projects related to disaster risk reduction since 2009.
7. Laura D. Garcia (United States of America/Agusan del Norte) – A distinguished nurse clinician and nurse educator in various medical educational institutions on the East Coast who also generously devotes her time to her alma mater as a balik-talent (returning talent) of Silliman University Alumni Association on various occasions. Besides her professional engagement, she is also a leader in the Filipino community of health professionals in the USA.
8. Pamela D. Gotangco (Switzerland/Nueva Ecija) – A well-received visual artist in Switzerland who ardently supports women’s empowerment and the preservation of indigenous cultures. She founded the PamPinay Clothing Corporation, which started as a social project before growing into an enterprise providing income opportunities for women weavers, embroiderers, and seamstresses in the Philippines.
9. Aurtenciano R. Miranda, Jr. (Italy/Manila) – A Wushu Kung Fu Moderno Master specializing in Kali Filipino (Arnis Kali Escrima) who established ‘Mandirigma Italia’ or the Italian Federation of Filipino Martial Arts and has organized FMA stages and tournaments in Italy. He learned the family-inherited Arnis system known as the “Kali Istukada Miranda System” and has provided Arnis/Kali training to his students since 1989.
10. Ronaldo B. Nilo (Qatar/Isabela) – A well-established Civil & Structural Engineering Lead and Chartered Professional who has supervised, designed, and engineered various projects, including large-scale projects in the Gulf Region, world-class stadiums, refineries, substations, and factories, among others. He is also very much engaged in imparting his expertise from over 31 years of experience to his fellow engineers.
11. Caroline B. Ong (China/Negros Occidental) – An acclaimed creative advertiser who has bagged prestigious awards for her work in the areas of creativity, advertising, and market effectiveness, including several elusive awards such as Cannes Lions, D&AD, Clio Awards, and The Webby Awards, among others. She has also represented China, the Philippines, and Asia as a jury in prestigious advertising festivals such as Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia, and the Dubai Lynx Awards
12. Glenn D. Pascual (United States of America/Pampanga) – He is currently the Director of Operations, Critical Care Services, Business Strategy, and Care Experience at Kaiser Permanente in California, USA. His passion and dedication to improving the patient care experience and healthcare services have earned him 63 state, regional, national, and international awards in the field of healthcare.
13. Lord Leomer B. Pomperada (United States of America/Antique) – A youth leader who became the first Filipino, first Asian, and the youngest appointed Global President of the World Youth Alliance (WYA). Under his leadership, new initiatives have been launched to successfully engage the youth and inspire them to be change-makers and advocates of nation-building.
14. Karen Graciles L. Remo (United Arab Emirates/Batangas) – A well-known entrepreneur, community leader, and industry specialist in Dubai, UAE whose performance has attracted the interest of high-level government officials and C-level executives. She currently serves as the CEO and co-founder of New Perspective Media Group (NPM), and the managing director, publisher, and editor-in-chief of 999 Magazine and The Filipino Times.
15. Albert Remus R. Rosana (Canada/Laguna) – An expert in the field of biology and biotechnology and is currently a professor at MacEwan University in Alberta, Canada who has successfully written and collaborated on 25 papers primarily focused on Bacterial Genome Sequencing, which have been published in multiple journals. His leadership in the community extends beyond the field of Science as he is one of the board of directors for the UP-Alumni Association Edmonton and co-founder of the Edmonton Filipino Fiesta.
16. Leorey N. Saligan (United States of America/Misamis Oriental) – A nursing professor and scientist leading a team of medical practitioners engaged in cancer research and studies on cancer-related fatigue management. He and his team patented biomarkers for the Cancer Research Foundation (CRF), determining which measurement and analysis can be utilized to diagnose and manage fatigue to facilitate the development of appropriate therapy and treatment.
17. Walter S. Villagonzalo (Australia/Cebu) – Founder and President of The Migrant Hub, Inc. a social enterprise supporting migrants of different nationalities to integrate better within Australian society. He has spent more than 20 years volunteering for his local community, helping not only Filipino migrants but other migrant nationalities in Australia as well. He became the first Filipino to be elected as a Councilor of Werribee and Deputy Mayor of Victoria.
Kaanib ng Bayan Awardees
This award is conferred to foreign individuals and organizations for their exceptional or significant contribution to Philippine progress and development, or in advancing the cause or promoting the interests of overseas Filipino communities. The Kaanib ng Bayan awardees are:
1. Temasek Foundation (Singapore) – A philanthropic organization that supports a wide range of programs including education, healthcare, governance, disaster response, emergency preparedness, business leadership, and international exchange. Its generous contributions, especially during the pandemic, made a significant difference in the lives of Filipino beneficiaries.
2. Issa Mohammad Ahmed (Jordan) – A Jordanian who serves as the Philippine Embassy in Amman’s official translator for its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) section since 2013. He helps Filipinos who are in distress with work-related, legal, or health issues and he became instrumental in the successful repatriation of over 1,100 OFWs. He is also the first foreigner to receive the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Assistance to Nationals Award.
3. Montero Medical Missions (United States of America) – Established in 2012, it is a faith-based and inter-faith humanitarian international organization based in Chesapeake, Virginia. Its main objective is to recruit expatriate physicians and allied health professionals in the US to return to their homelands and create sustainable healthcare projects. The group has a wide range of sustainable healthcare projects benefiting the underserved and marginalized communities in the Philippines and the US.
4. Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore (Singapore) – Its principal objectives are to carry out social and community service and collaborate with other entities in Singapore on social development and humanitarianism. It has provided classrooms, facilities, scholarship grants, and support for volunteers to conduct numerous short-term courses for the skills development of OFWs in Singapore.
5. Yasonna Laoly (Indonesia) – He is a civil servant known for his expertise in human rights and immigration. His service as the Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights has been crucial in ensuring the well-being of Filipinos in Indonesia.
A special citation will also be awarded in this year’s PAFIOO.
1. Coalition of the Filipino American Chambers of Commerce (COFACC) – A coalition of various Filipino American Chambers of Commerce which provides support resources, shares best practices with individual member chambers, and serves as their collective voice. It’s a staunch supporter of US and Philippine trade relations, diaspora investment, entrepreneurship, and diaspora philanthropy, and has partnered with various entities.
For the past three decades, the Presidential Awards have been bestowed upon 541 Filipino individuals and organizations overseas from 55 countries and territories.
The PAFIOO is organized by the CFO, a government agency attached to the Office of the President tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights, and welfare of Filipino migrants and maintain strong and mutually beneficial ties between overseas Filipinos throughout the world and the Motherland.
For more information, please contact: