President Duterte Vows To Protect OFWs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses with the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) during the awarding ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on December 5, 2018. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, December 5, assured Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) of the government’s protection underscoring their contributions to national development. Noting that OFWs are considered the modern-day heroes who send multi-billion dollar remittances back home, the President referred to our OFW’s as “the lifeblood of the country.”

“As appreciation for all your hardships, you have my assurance that the protection and promotion of your welfare and well-being will remain as one of the administration’s top priorities,” the Chief Executive said during the conferment of the 2018 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) and the Model OFW Family of the Year Awards (MOFYA).

“This nation will always recognize your invaluable contribution to nation-building, and this administration will continue to craft policies and implement programs that will respond to your needs and protect your rights,” he emphasized.

In spite of the need of OFWs to work abroad, President Duterte asked them to remain committed to their families as his administration is currently working toward a more equitably progressive future for the Philippines.

The 2018 PAFIOO was institutionalized in 1991 through Executive Order No. 498, it is a biennial search for organizations based abroad who have dedicated their work in the service of Filipinos, either by selflessly supporting relief, rehabilitation, and development programs in the home country. The award is also given to individuals who have excelled in their profession or field of expertise overseas.

This year’s awardees were selected from a total of 96 nominations received by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) from 28 countries, through 37 Philippine embassies and consulates across Asia, North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

The Presidential Awards have four categories—Banaag, Pamana ng Pilipino, Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL), and Kaanib ng Bayan.

The Banaag awards were given to Corazon Francisco from Australia, Agnes Katbeth Kreimer from Peru, Dindo Malanyaon from Italy, Juliet Montano from Taiwan, The Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California from the United States of America, Maria Cristina Sulaik from Sudan, and Wimler Foundation Hong Kong Ltd. from Hong Kong.

The Banaag Award is awarded to Filipino individuals or organizations that have made contributions and have significantly benefited or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.

Meanwhile, the Pamana ng Pilipino Award is awarded to Filipino overseas workers, who, in exemplifying the talents and industry of the Filipino, have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession.

This year’s Pamana ng Pilipino awards were given to Maria Theresa Eviota from Switzerland, Teresita Marques from Portugal, Saturnino Tiamson Jr. from Hong Kong, Jose Dennis Teodosio from Myanmar, Paul Balan, Edward Brotonel, Nicolas Caraquel, Elizabeth Engle, Pedro Jose, C. Jose Sayas, Jr., and Jhett Tolentino all from the United States of America.

Receiving the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) awards were the Association of Fil-Am Teachers of America Inc., Salvacion Cimanez from The Netherlands, The Filipino-American Law Enforcement Officers Association, Friends Indeed USA, Inc., and Hilda Gigioli from the United States of America.

The LINKAPIL Award is awarded to Filipino individuals or organizations in recognition of their exceptional or significant contributions to the reconstruction, progress, and development of the Philippines.

This year’s Kaanib ng Bayan awardees were the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training in Singapore, and the Stichting LOOP from The Netherlands. This award is given to foreign individuals or organizations for their exceptional or significant contribution to Philippine reconstruction, progress, and development, for having significantly benefited a sector or community in the Philippines, or have advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.

Apart from recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations, the ceremony also awarded the Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA), it is an award-giving program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to recognize the success of OFWs and their families.

The MOFYA awards were given to Josefina Dela Chica Villamor for the Natatanging Parangal ng Kalihim, Engr. Mohammad Ali Sulay Urao and Family for the Achievement Community Projects, Engr. Arnulfo Navarro for the Achievement in Entrepreneurship, and Josefina Dela Chica Villanor and Family for the Land-based Model OFW Family of the Year.

For the Sea-based Model OFW Family of the Year, the awards went to Domingo Cuanang Jr. and family, Reynaldo Granada and family, and Gemelito Udarbe Geloca and family.

Other officials present during the awarding ceremony were Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista Jr., and Commission on Filipinos Overseas Secretary and Chairperson Francisco Acosta. ###PND •