MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American hip hop icon Apl.de.Ap, fashion designer Monique Lhuillier and Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra are among the 29 overseas Filipinos and organizations who will receive Presidential Awards in ceremonies to be held in Malacanang on Wednesday.
Allan Pineda of the Black Eyed Peas, Lhuillier, the bridal couturier and fashion designer, and Spoelstra, the coach of the winning 2012 NBA team, were among the selected 11 recipients of the Pamana ng Pilipino Award, which recognizes individuals who brought honor and distinction to the country in pursuit of their work or profession.
The eight other recipients of the Pamana ng Pilipino Award are:
- Engr. Mary Jane A. Al-Mahdi is the CEO of the Geoscience Testing Laboratory of the United Arab Emirates, the biggest independent testing laboratory operating in the Middle East.
- Dr. Delia R. Amaya is a food technology expert and retired professor of the University of Campinas, Brazil.
- Dr. Samuel Bernal is director of GlobeTekPro, a science foundation based in the Czech Republic and the United States, and a noted cancer specialist and lawyer who pioneered in stem cell research.
- Dr. Antonio Fernando III is an expert in the field of sleep medicine and professor of psychiatry at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
- Almira Astudillo Gilles is an award-winning writer of children’s books in Chicago.
- Dr. Ruth Elynia S. Mabanglo, is a leading proponent of Filipino as a global language and professor of Filipino language and culture at the University of Hawaii.
- Jorge Z. Ortoll is the Executive Director of Ma-Yi Theater, a premier vehicle for showcasing Asian-American talent and a nurturing ground of Filipino-American artists in New York.
- Dr. Francisca Tolete-Velcek is a multi-awarded and notable pediatric surgeon in New York.
The Presidential Awards will also honor two Filipinos and an organization for their significant contributions to the progress and development in the Philippines.
The recipients of the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Award are:
- Dr. Manuel A. Cacdac is a Boston-based neuro-surgeon who treats disadvantaged Filipino children afflicted with hydrocephalus and cranio-facial defects.
- Dr. Christopher M. Guerrero is a Chicago-based physician who regularly returns to his home-province to attend to the health needs and professional development of fellow Nueva Vizcayans.
- The Aguman Kapampangan UK is an organization of London-based Filipinos from Pampanga who creatively combines fun socials, a philanthropic spirit and heritage appreciation.
Thirteen Filipino individuals and associations overseas will receive the Banaag Award to honor their contributions towards the promotion and advancement of the interests of overseas Filipino communities or sectors.
The Banaag Awardees are:
- Engr. Carlito E. Alpay is a mechanical engineer who advocated for the conduct of Philippine professional licensure examinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Atty. Imelda L. Argel is an immigration lawyer and columnist who advocated for the mutual recognition of skills and qualifications of Filipino migrants in Australia.
- Tomas P. Avendaño Sr. is a member of the Multi-cultural Advisory Council of British Columbia and is acknowledged for his role in rallying community support for the Multicultural Helping House Society which extends assistance especially to newly-arrived migrants in Canada.
- Rafael S. Castaños is a social reformer and lobbyist whose efforts led to the provision of services for migrants seeking job opportunities and related concerns which successfully advanced the cause of overseas Filipinos in Alaska.
- The Filipiniana–Europa V.Z.W. is a multi-cultural non-profit organization, whose initiatives foster amicable cross-cultural relationships among Filipino migrants, the Belgians and other diaspora communities regardless of ethnicity, religious orientation and socio-economic status.
- The Filipino Community of Seattle is a non-profit organization in the State of Washington that was founded in the 1930s and has sustained its commitment to serve the socio-cultural, political, and education needs as means to strengthen ethnic pride and foster unity in diversity.
- The Filipino Digerati Association is a non-profit organization composed of IT professionals who banded together to provide computer technology-transfer trainings to improve the employability of their fellow OFWS in the United Arab Emirates.
- Luzviminda S. Micabalo is a retired nurse and health administrator from New York who continues to devote her unbridled energy to humanitarian activities and philanthropic causes in the Philippines as well as in Nevada.
- Al Perez Jr. is Entertainment Commissioner of the City and County of San Francisco who is recognized for his instrumental role in developing a sense of pride in Philippine cultural heritage among members of the Fil-American community in the Bay Area.
- Lt. Eric Michael B. Quema is responsible for establishing a volunteer training program conducted by colleagues from the San Francisco Police Department and the Filipino Law Enforcers Association for the benefit of members of the Philippine National Police.
- Robert Santos is a Seattle-based civil rights leader whose sustained activism helped Filipino migrants and other Asian-Americans campaign for decent urban housing and community development.
- The Stichting Bayanihan is a unique ‘women-helping-women’ organization who assists documented and undocumented migrants interested in self-development and enrichment opportunities, particularly the exploited au pairs in the Netherlands.
- Ma. Luzviminda Tsai is adviser, counselor and problem solver of Taiwan-based Filipino migrants who has managed to balance family responsibilities and volunteerism and won the respect of the community through the years.
Meanwhile, the Kaanib ng Bayan Award goes to two foreign individuals honored for their exceptional and significant contribution to Philippine reconstruction, progress and development or have advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.
Kaanib ng Bayan Awardees are:
- Dr. Gonen Haba is an Israeli medical specialist who attends to the needs of the overseas Filipino community and is widely held as a dear friend, brother, counselor, healer, and hero for his generosity and dedication.
- Dr. Christian Loehlein is a German reconstructive surgeon who has used his expertise to restore the self-esteem of Filipino beneficiaries of harelip and cleft palate operations conducted by medical missioners on his team.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) said the finalists were drawn from a pool of 137 nominations from 26 countries and 20 Philippine embassies and consulates.
“They are living proof that our capacity for hard work coupled with the bayanihan spirit are a winning combination that knows no bounds,” the CFO said.
Initiated by former President Corazon Aquino in 1991, the biennial recognition has been given to 338 awardees from 44 countries and serves to highlight the celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos in December.