The PAFIOO awardees with CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta and Undersecretary Abdulgani Matua Macatoman
The prestigious Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) were presented recently to 56 recipients in simple ceremonies at the Manila Marriott Hotel.
Presented by the Office of the President of the Philippines through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), PAFIOO is the highest honor given by the Philippine government for the exemplary deeds and philanthropic initiatives of foreign-based individuals and associations that contribute to nation-building and Philippine development, promote the welfare and well-being of Filipinos abroad and bring honor to the country because of their achievements and excellence in their fields or professions.
PAFIOO was instituted in 1991 by Executive Order No. 498 issued by the late President Corazon C. Aquino.
CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta presented the awards on behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. He was assisted by CFO Executive Director and Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman.
Secretary Nick Acosta delivering his keynote speech
In his keynote speech, Secretary Acosta praised the new additions to the roster of elite members of the Filipino diaspora. “Let this day be a mark of your victories that are, of course, products of sacrifices and efforts, as you labored for decades in constant pursuit of enhancing and developing your skills – and eventually generously giving back to your fellow Filipinos here and abroad without expecting anything in return.”
Highlighting the contributions of the Diaspora, Undersecretary Macatoman praised the awardees for their steadfast contributions to the development of the country as well as Filipino communities overseas. He also expressed gratitude to the foreign awardees for their continuing service to overseas Filipinos and for ensuring their welfare.
PAFIOO recipients represented a wide range of professions and fields of interest. They included philanthropists, scientists, engineers, medical and healthcare professionals, athletes, artists, and public servants. They were cited for selfless deeds, pro bono services, and exemplary acts of kindness and generosity. For most, their selfless devotion to duty and willingness to go the extra mile for others especially shone through when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic was devastating almost every country in the world.
The awardees uplifted the lives of many of their kababayan across the world, brought honor to their people and country, and catalyzed progress and development in Filipino communities overseas and in the motherland.
The PAFIOO recipients and award categories are:
Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL)
The term LINKAPIL translates to “service to fellow Filipinos” and celebrates the enduring Bayanihan spirit of Filipinos even if they have settled in other countries. The award is conferred on Filipino individuals or organizations for exceptional or significant contributions to progress and development in the Philippines.
The Lingkod Sa Kapwa Pilipino Presidential Awardees
Recipients of the Presidential LINKAPIL Award are Batangas Association United Kingdom (United Kingdom), Roxanne Racquel A. Cajigas (United States of America), Kayumanggi Chorale, Inc. (USA), Vivian Kiefer-Vargas (Switzerland), Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers – Qatar Chapter (Qatar) and The Filipino Association in the Isle of Man (Isle of Man).
“Banaag” means gleam or glimmer, a ray of light that advances the welfare of overseas Filipinos and/or Filipino migrant communities. The award is conferred on Filipino individuals or organizations whose significant contributions have benefited a sector of the diaspora or advanced the cause and interest of overseas Filipino communities.
The Banaag Presidential Awardees
Recipients of the Presidential Banaag Award are Mario A. Balboa (Saudi Arabia), Bella Aurora P. Belmonte (USA), Ariel C. Bernardo (South Korea), Roy G. Betinol (Chile), Vanda Marie M. Brady (Ireland), Alex Chiu (+) Posthumous Award (Canada), Aurora B. Dacanay (Canada), Nancy S. de Jesus (France), Rose Cheryl P. Eclarinal-Murdock (UK), Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc. (Canada), Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (USA), Fernandico Q. Gonong, Jr. (USA), Igorot UK Charity (United Kingdom), Kapatiran at Ugnayan ng Natatanging Sining at Talento (Germany), Venecio V. Legaspi (Saudi Arabia), London Filipino Centre CIC (UK), Bennette E. Misalucha (USA), National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth (USA), Rolando M. Nicolas (Saudi Arabia), Linda Nietes-Little (USA), Philippine Bayanihan Association of Alberta (Canada), Philippine-American Friendship Community, Inc. (USA), Dennis N. Rata (Kuwait), Jannelle So-Perkins (USA), Cristy M. Vicentina (Singapore), and Elija Paul G. Villanueva (UK).
Pamana ng Pilipino
“Pamana”, which means legacy and heritage, showcases the honor and recognition that Filipinos bring to the homeland through outstanding performance, expertise, skills, and world-class talents. The award is conferred on overseas Filipino individuals who, exemplifying the talent and industry of the Filipino, have brought honor and recognition to the country through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession.
The Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Awardees
Recipients of the Presidential Pamana ng Pilipino Award are Russ Patrick P. Alcedo (Canada), Glenda Lynna Anne T. Bonifacio (Canada), Josefino C. Comiso (USA), Sheila Maria A. Conejos (Singapore), Danilo M. Favor (UK), Glenn F. Fernandez (China), Laura D. Garcia (USA), Pamela D. Gotangco (Switzerland), Aurtenciano R. Miranda, Jr. (Italy), Ronaldo B. Nilo (Qatar), Caroline B. Ong (China), Glenn D. Pascual (USA), Lord Leomer B. Pomperada (USA), Karen Graciles L. Remo (United Arab Emirates), Albert Remus R. Rosana (Canada), Leorey N. Saligan (USA), and Walter S. Villagonzalo (Australia).
Kaanib ng Bayan
A “Kaanib” is an ally or partner. For Filipinos, a person who merits the title is like a member of the family. The title shows the country’s appreciation for and honoring foreign citizens or groups that assist the Philippines and its people. The award is conferred on foreign individuals and organizations for their exceptional or significant contribution to Philippine progress and development, or for advancing the cause or promoting the interests of overseas Filipino communities.
The Kaanib ng Bayan Presidential Awardees
Recipients of the Presidential Kaanib ng Bayan Award are Issa Mohammad Ahmad (Jordan), Yasonna H. Laoly (Indonesia), Montero Medical Missions (USA), Philippine Bayanihan Society – Singapore (Singapore), and Temasek Foundation, Ltd. (Singapore).
A Special Presidential Citation was given to the Coalition of Filipino American Chambers of Commerce (USA).
Most of the recipients personally accepted their awards. A few sent representatives to receive their awards.
Each presidential awardee shared their inspirational stories and expressed their gratitude for the honor during the testimonial dinner. They said they were thankful to be part of the elite roster of PAFIOO recipients, the crème de la crème of the Filipino diaspora, and the Filipino community overseas.
All recipients said the honor would inspire and motivate them to do more for overseas Filipinos and the Philippines. One of the awardees said, “I salute the values and the spirit that this award embodies, but it also brings great responsibility to continue to be a beacon of Filipino excellence in every corner of the world.”
The Ramon Obusan Focloric Group during their cultural presentation
CFO Head Executive Assistant Atty. Wendell Dimaculangan formally closed the event by proposing a toast to and congratulating all the awardees. He also gave recognition to the excellent public service of Secretary Acosta, whose last day in office under the Duterte administration coincided with the PAFIOO Awarding Ceremony.
The event, which was live-streamed via the official Facebook Page of the PAFIO and CFO, was hosted by Dr. Finesse Evangelista and Carlo Suzara.
Since it was instituted more than three decades ago, the PAFIOO has been presented to 541 individuals and entities based abroad. This year is particularly exceptional for having the most number of honorees who successfully passed the rigorous four-level multi-sectoral screening process.
The selection process started with the Awards Committee at the Philippine Embassies/ Consulates, Awards Technical Committee, and Awards Executive Committee chaired by the CFO and, finally the Office of the President. Also, members of the screening committees include the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Department of Health, De La Salle University, Center for Migrant Advocacy, Dynamic Outsource Solutions 1, GMA Network, Inc., and Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People.
4 out of the 8 members of the PAFIOO Technical Committee with Sec. Acosta and Usec. Macatoman
Usec. Macatoman, Sec. Acosta with his fellow members of the PAFIOO Executive Committee
The PAFIOO serves as a continuing symbol of the government’s recognition of the selfless and immense contributions of Filipinos and private organizations overseas as dependable partners in national development efforts, exponents of Filipino talent and skills, and promoters of the interests of the Filipino diaspora. The PAFIOO is managed by the Policy, Planning, and Research Division of the CFO.
The Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas secretariat
For more information on the Awardees, please like the PAFIOO Facebook page Gawad ng Pangulo https://www.facebook.com/gawadpangulo and visit the PAFIOO official website www.presidentialawards.cfo.gov.ph.