Monday, November 10, 2008


The CFO's Presidential Awardees

I hear congratulations are in order for the winners of the Commission on Filipinos’ Overseas’ presidential awards usually given out in December, which rightfully is the overseas Filipinos month. There are many events and activities next month all geared toward overseas Filipinos, many of whom return to the country to spend Christmas with their families.

The awardees this year include Ka Alex Asuncion of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, whose name is quite prominent as an advocate for the welfare of his fellow overseas Filipinos.

According to CMA Executive Director Ellene Sana, Ka Alex is one of the Saudi Arabia based supporters of OFW-SOS-SMS, a text based SOS system developed by OFWs for OFWs.


In an e-mail, the colleagues of Ka Alex say “Kaming mga OFW dito sa Gitnang Silangan, lalo na dito sa Saudi Arabia ay lubos na nagagalak na isa sa aming kasamahan ay naparangalan nanaman bilang Presidental Awardee. Tunay na ang mabuting gawa ay dapat lang na ma recognize at mabigyan karampatang pagpapahalaga. Ako ay natutuwa at ang mag tulong na iyong ginagawa sa iyong mga kababayan na nandito ngayon sa Saudi Arabia at Gitnang Silangan ay pinahalagahan ng ating Presidente.”


OFW Rey Orbon in Riyadh adds “ang recognition o award na ito ay hindi lang sa individual na mga taong ito kundi ito ay para din sa mga kababayan natin na tahimik na gumagawa ng kanilang makakaya para lang makatulong sa mga libo-libo nating mag kababayan na nangangailangan ng tulong. Marami ang mga taong ito na nakilala ko na na tahimik lang na gumagalaw sa ngalan ng pagtulong sa kapwa OFW na hindi pinalad sa kanilang mga trabaho dito. Mga kapwa natin OFW na kasalukuyang nakapiit ngayon sa mga kulungan dito sa Saudi Arabia. “

“Alam ko na may mga individual o grupo na gumagalaw at dinadalaw at inaalam ang kanilang mga kalagayan. Sa mag taong ito, who are unsung heroes, please go on with what you are doing now. The mighty one from above for sure is seeing ang knows what you are doing!” Rey writes.


Ellen says another awardee is Ms. Esperanza Derpo, chair of the Philippine Barangay Society of Nigeria (PBSN). Ellene says her group is a recent addition to the CMA’s global family.

“The citation and recognition of the PBSN through their chair Ms. Derpo is big boost to the Filipinos in Nigeria,” Ellene says. She explains that one of their main advocacies right now is the lifting of the travel ban to Nigeria.

The CFO say in their press release that Esperanza is an engineer by profession who works at the British High Commission (Consulate) office in Victoria Island, Lagos. She is now on her 4th consecutive year of leading the Filipino community in Lagos, Nigeria as the chairperson of the PBSN.


PBSN has become the the unofficial Philippine representative to international events in Lagos, such as the annual Small World Event, an international cultural show counting 27 countries, including the Philippines, as regular participants. PBSN is also known for its charity works both in Nigeria and in Philippines, and for extending assistance to distressed OFWs in Nigeria, in coordination with the
embassy.


Through her chairmanship, the PBSN was able to acquire a permanent office which serves as its clubhouse and barangay office, located at the Caverton Helicopter Staff Compound in Ikeja, Lagos.


The PBSN was founded in 1973 to formalize an already existing organization of Filipinos residing in Nigeria. Its foundations lay on the ideals of uniting Filipinos all over the country in the spirit of nationalism and friendship, while fulfilling a social responsibility to the host nation, Nigeria.


Esperanza was endorsed by the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria under
Ambassador Masaranga Umpa.

Ellene relates that when PBSN member Ms. Vangie Novio was here recently, CMA accompanied her in her lobby work with the government agencies to lift the travel ban to Nigeria.

Ellene says she met with Mr. Cinco from the office of VP “para ipaabot ang kanilang apela” and briefly with then Senate President Manuel Villar. CMA at that time conveyed the same concerns to the DFA-OUMWA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos and OUMWA Exec. Director Relacion.

“We need to follow up on this appeal of Filipinos in Nigeria. Magiging lubos ang kasayahan at selebrasyon ng mga Pinoy sa Nigeria kung ma-li-lift ang travel ban sa Nigeria. Otherwise, baka kaya hindi maka-uwi si Ms. Derpo kasi hindi na sya makakabalik sa Nigeria dahil sa travel ban,” Ellene says.


She adds that CMA is also happy that one of their partner NGOs in Holland, Stichting Kapatiran has also been included among the awardees.


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will personally hand-out the awards in a special ceremony tentatively set on December 9, 2008 at the Malacanang Palace.

The rest of the Presidential awardees are:

Linkapil Awardees: Association of Philippine Physicians of America, New York; Enverga, Tobias Jr., Toronto; Filipino Women's Association UK, London.


Kaanib ng Bayan Awardees: Catholic Medical Mission Board, New York; Children's Chance CT, New York; Heetens Helpgood Center Philippines, The Hague; Ligier, Laurence, Paris.


Banaag Awardees: Berberabe, Patricia, New York; Carandang, Angeles, Chicago; Casambre Sr., Mary Aida, Hongkong; Filipino Korean Spouses Association, Seoul; Garcia, Lamberto, New York; Ho, Eleanor, Taiwan; Magdalena, Joseph, Riyadh; Muzones, Santiago Jr., New York; Noblejas, Dr. Antonio, Wellington; Overs, Lilian, Toronto; Philippine Community Council of New South Wales, Sydney; Philippine Nurses Association of America, New York; Philipsen, Adelina, The Hague; United Filipino Council of Hawaii, Honolulu.


Pamana ng Pilipino: Besa, Amelita and Dorotan, Romeo, New York; De Leon, Bayani, New York; Esguerra, Carlos, New York; Hizon, Federico, Singapore; Pelayo, Libertito, New York; Ramos, Dr. Teresita, Honolulu; Villarin, Engr. Nilo, Washington.


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