15 December 2010
Aquino exhorts OFWs to continue to instill bayanihan spirit and help victims of calamities
MANILA, PHILIPPINES: President Benigno S. Aquino III has urged all Filipino individuals and organizations abroad to continue to instill their “bayanihan” spirit by donating to the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a program that provides assistance to the victims of natural calamities.
Speaking before the awardees of the 2010 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) at Malacanang’s Rizal Hall on Tuesday night, the Chief Executive said the donations of overseas Filipino workers is needed to help rehabilitate and build a better future for the families and communities affected by the calamities.
The President recalled that in 2009, the DSWD received a total of $91,000 of cash donations from various overseas Filipino communities and organizations, while this year (2010), it raised $23,000.
“I want to encourage (all of you) more of these donations,” he said even as he assured them that under his stewardship all donations and assistance that the government would receive will surely go directly at the doorsteps of the intended beneficiaries.
He also told them that the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) is authorized to issue clearances, under Memorandum Order No. 36, to the Bureau of Customs that will grant duty and tax-free privileges to donations and importations intended for calamity victims.
“In short, a procedure to exempt taxes on overseas donations exists. We have the capacity to get these donations through the administrative maze, and to the right people – the victims of calamities,” the President said. “I know how hard you, and others like you, work to build a better future for your families and communities. And I know I’ve just asked you to do even more. But I want to assure you that your government is also doing everything it can to bring about a Philippines that is more fair, more just, and more prosperous,” he stressed.
As part of the state obligation, the President noted, the national government has strengthened the country’s basic educational system and improved health services intended to help the marginalized sector.
He said that the budget for education in 2011 increased by 16 percent or P271.67 billion while for rural health facilities and for immunization for indigent families were also increased to P7.14 billion from P2.46 billion, respectively.
According to the President, the Conditional Cash Transfer program was also increased in the 2011 budget to P21 billion in order to provide the impetus needed in the reform agenda which is designed to significantly improve the lives of the poorest of the poor.
“If we all do our part, I have no doubt that together we can leave a legacy for our country that we can all be proud of. When I leave office in less than six years, we will be able to say that we left the Philippines in a much better state than we found it,” the President said.
Aquino cites deserving achievers among overseas Filipino this year
President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Presidential Awards to 13 overseas Filipino individuals, seven organizations, three foreigners and one foreign group for their continued compassion, diligence and hard work, and efforts to help promote and uplift the image of the Philippines here and abroad.
The Chief Executive urged the recipients of 2010 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) to “remain united and keep the light of our country’s resurgence burning brightly, enough for the entire world to witness.”
“I congratulate [tonight’s awardees], not just for your awards, but also for your spirit of bayanihan. May you continue to wield the flaming torches of excellence, dedication and nationalism,” the President said after the awarding rites of Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino, Kaanib ng Bayan, Banaag and Pamana ng Pilipino awards to this year’s recipient of PAFIOO.
This year’s awardees came from the United States, Hong Kong, South Korea, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Australia, Germany and Canada
The President said that this year’s recipients of PAFIOO are testaments to the enduring spirit of Bayanihan because of their compassion, diligence and hard work to promote Filipinos, here and abroad.
“As we celebrate the Month of Overseas Filipinos and the International Migrants’ Day, it is my fervent hope that you continue your dedicated service and efforts toward the advancement and improvement of the lives of Filipinos,” he noted.
The recipients of Pamana ng Pilipino Awards are Lilac L. Caña (Canada), Angelito David, Fred De Asis, Randy Gener, and Lilibeth Navarro (all based in the United States).
The official citation for Gener states: “In conferring the Pamana Ng Pilipino Award (Legacy of the Filipino Nation Award) to Gener, the President of the Philippines recognizes his excellence in the field of theater arts and creativity, and diligence in promoting Filipino-American cultural interests and accomplishments to mainstream audiences in Europe and the U.S.A.”
Among the Banaag awardees are the Computer Society of Filipinos International (COMSOFIL) based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO) in USA; Federation of Filipino Communities in Israel; Dr. Emely Abagat based in South Korea; George Gange and Sindaw Kinding both based now in USA; Marilyn Kasimieh of the United Arab Emirates; Sister Lucia Olalia in South Korea and Evangeline Ybo in Jordan.
The Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) awardees are Teresita Alarcon (USA), Ruth Martinez (Australia), North Central Virginia Association of Philippine Physicians (USA), Philippine-American Association of Connecticut (USA), and Philippine-German Community Oberberge e.V.
The Kaanib ng Bayan awardees are Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center (Lebanon), Phoebe Lam Bik Che and Sunny Lam Kai Chor (both from Hongkong), and Simha Salpeter (Israel).
The PAFIOO is a biennial awards system institutionalized through Executive Order No. 498 which was signed by the late former President Corazon C. Aquino, in recognition to the outstanding achievements and significant contributions of Filipino individuals and organizations that advances the cause of Filipino communities overseas.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), being the Awards Secretariat, has received 110 nominations from 23 countries. The nominees underwent screening of three different committees with representatives from government agencies, media, academe, religious and business sectors.