Outstanding overseas Filipino workers get Bagong Bayani awards


An educator, who helped bring to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries the professional board examinations for mechanical engineers, received the highest award for an overseas Filipino worker at ceremonies Thursday in Malacañang.

President Benigno Aquino III led the awarding rites for the country’s outstanding overseas Filipino workers. Among the awardees were seafarers who kept their vessels afloat during Japan’s 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami of March 11, and caregivers who showed “heroism and loyalty” in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Bagong Bayani Foundation Inc. conferred the “Blas F. Ople Award para sa Natatanging Bayani” on Eduardo Parra Malagapo for “his outstanding achievement in the field of education and his tireless involvement in various socio-civic activities and humanitarian services for fellow Filipinos abroad.”

“(Malagapo) was instrumental in bringing to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries the professional board examinations for mechanical engineers, which has considerably contributed to the professional growth of our mechanical engineers in that part of the world,” said BBFI vice president Rene Cristobal, the master of ceremonies.

Cited as outstanding employees were the Filipino crew members of MT Diamond Champ and MT Nichichiko for “risking their lives keeping their ships afloat during the destructive earthquake and tsunami that” hit Sendai City in northeast Japan.

“Faced with imminent danger, their heroism and competence as seafarers saved precious lives and properties and averted potential environmental disaster that would result from oil spills,” Cristobal said.

Also cited were the Filipino seafarers on MV South Islander for their rescue of 27 crew members of Daichi Shoei Maru No. 1, a fishing boat, which caught fire in the Pacific Ocean in April.


Among those awarded the Bagong Bayani Award for community and social service were caregivers Mercedes Joie Aquino, Sandra Otacan, Gemma Juanay and Juliet Copatan.

“Despite the danger and risk of exposure to nuclear radiation during the earthquake and tsunami calamity that rocked Fukushima in March this year, (they) elected to remain in their jobs and continued to provide care and companionship to their Japanese elderly patients,” Cristobal said.

Captain Autonomo Amano of Hoegh Fleet Services was awarded the Gregorio Oca Achievement Award, which is given to seafarers “who best symbolize any of the achievement of contribution of the late Captain Oca to the maritime industry.”

“Captain Amano stands out as the most deserving among the seafarer-awardees. He is one of his company’s outstanding seafarers, getting all accolades from all levels during his entire years of service in the company,” Cristobal said.

Amano has been with his employer for 26 years.

Other outstanding employee-awardees were Marcos Antonio Torres, who carried the Olympic torch during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; Analiza Perez-Amurao, a one-time teacher of the year in Thailand’s Mahidol University International College; Jesefina Omalsa, the first Filipino nurse to be accredited as a national surveyor by Saudi Arabia; Rosalito Nebre, for his outstanding performance as manager of the Summit Park View Hotel in Burma (Myanmar); and Elmer Ortega, a multiawarded advertising creative director in Jordan.

Also honored with the award for community and social service were Dr. Celerino Umandap for his charitable works for Filipino communities in Kuwait, and Marilyn Kasimieh for her assistance to distressed Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates and for her support for her provincemates in Iloilo.

Similarly honored were Frank Jamadre for his leadership in helping fellow Filipino workers abroad and indigents in the Philippines, and Irma Tobias for her role in protecting the rights of Filipino workers in Italy and in promoting cultural understanding between Filipinos and Italians.

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  • Jess

    Ano kaya ang mga criteria for selecting these Bagong Bayani awards? I am an overseas worker for the last 30 years, peru ang mga achievements ng mga awardees ay parang malabo when it comes to far reaching effects on the Philippines and the OFW’s in general. 
    To my mind, an award requires, consistency, long lasting efforts, and contributions to the welfare of Pinoys and the host country as well. 

    Anyway, congratulations sa kanila. It is no mean feat to be recognized although many of the awardees are unrecognizable. Maraming mga OFW’s na mas marami ang nagawa, at kasalukuyang gumagawa para sa Pinoys, sa host country at sa bansang Pilipinas. But they are not recognized to be recognizable. 

    • Anonymous

      Before you question why these awardees were recognized and given a Bagong Bayani award, you should first know in depth what each of them have done for their fellow kababayans abroad, for the country and company where they have worked, and/or for the Filipino communities where they belong to. You shouldn’t pass judgement if you do not know what you are talking about.

      I wouldn’t blame you for you speculations and skepticism, however. This article does not tell its readers the specific achievements of these awardees. For example, the Olympic torch bearer, Mr. Torres, didn’t get a Bagong Bayani Award for Outstanding Employee just because he bore the Olympic torch 3 years ago. He has been promoted 5 times from Marketing Manager to Associate Director in  just a span of FIVE years in a big company in Beijing. I should also add that he is a non-Chinese speaking person working for a Chinese-speaking company. Dr. Umandap of Kuwait is a dentist who helped a fellow Filipina who was wrongfully accused of a crime from being imprisoned for life. He asked the help of his fellow dentists and organized a fundraiser to raise funds for the litigation fees for his Filipina friend. Not only that, he also works for the government in Kuwait and gives free dental services to his fellow kababayans. Dr. Malagapo not only helped his fellow mechanical engineers in the Gulf by being instrumental in bringing the board examinations for mechanical engineers in that part of the world. He also helped them in their growth as engineers by bringing the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers to the Gulf. He also established an MBA and PhD extension so that his fellow Filipinos will be able to pursue their lifelong dream of getting higher education. These students of his have now been promoted in their jobs with better salaries (of course) because of the degree they have attained with his help. He also gave scholarships to his best students. Seeing the lack of secondary schools in Al-Khobar, he established the first Filipino school that gives secondary education in that area. The Filipino seamen and caregivers were recognized because of their selflessness, dedication to their work and dedication for helping others. They helped save the lives of the victims of the recent tsunami in Japan without asking for anything in return. I would like to mention all the accomplishments of these awardees, but I’m sure you get the picture. The ones I have mentioned is only a summary of their accomplishments.

      What are the Bagong Bayani Awards you might ask? The Bagong Bayani Awards aims to provide a system to recognize the contributions of OFWs to their employers, fellow workers, families, and communities. Someone who has made a significant impact to our nation itself, such as Dr. Jose Rizal or even Manny Pacquiao, isn’t in their criteria. After all, it’s the “bagong” bayani awards and not the “pambansang” bayani awards. The awards not only recognize people who have contributed to their community through social welfare and community service. It also recognizes people who have been outstanding employees. The BBA has 5 categories, namely, the BBA for Outstanding Employee, Community and Social Service, Culture and Arts, Capt. Oca Achievement, and Blas F. Ople Achievement.

      If you think anyone you know deserves to be a Bagong Bayani Awardee, you can nominate them to be a recipient of the next Bagong Bayani Awards, which will be held in 2013. Nominations will be open on the year the awards will be given.

      For more information on the BBA, visit this link:

      • Anonymous

        Dear theocrus, thanks for the info but you need not defend the BBA in this free-for-all blog spot where people like Jess pass judgement without any basis. Im happy to know that these people are recognized. well it should serve as inspiration to all…the best way of being filipino is to be the best in our own fields. we cant change the nation overnight but we can change it one filipino at a time. Congrats to all the winners

      • Anonymous

        Hi Omanoypi,

        Thanks for the reply. Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way affiliated with the foundation. I just wanted to inform Jess and everyone else here about the BBA and its current awardees. It is true that people pass judgement a lot of times on the internet, especially in forums and blogs, and they are free to do so. I just hope people inform themselves and think first before they do. If you want to know more about something, you could ask without passing judgement, right? And who are we to judge when we aren’t God who knows all things?

        Also, I am tired of this kind of mentality that is deeply rooted in our culture. When we see a fellow Filipino being acknowledged or recognized, instead of being happy for them and proud that we have Filipinos who bring honor to our country and change the negative perceptions of foreigners towards us and our country, we try to bring them down or question their success. I’m sure you have witnessed that countless of times. Just go to youtube and you’ll see people arguing about Charice Pempengco’s, Lea Salonga’s, or even Manny Pacquiao’s success. This also happens in our neighborhood kahit sa magkakapitbahay lang. I hope we get rid of this mentality over time. It’s good to know that there are Filipinos like you who don’t have this kind of mentality.

        Anyway, I agree with what you said. “We can’t change the nation overnight, but we can change it one filipino at a time.” That is a good motto to live by. We can help our country progress if this is how we think. Let us continue to be inspired by and support our Filipinos like our bagong bayani awardees, who continue to selflessly help our fellow kababyans, and let us be the change agent for the betterment of our fellow Filipinos, as well.

        Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

  • Anonymous

    “An educator, who helped bring to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries the professional board examinations for mechanical engineers, received the highest award for an overseas Filipino worker at ceremonies Thursday in Malacañang.” – INQUIRER

    Maigi pa ang Saudi Arrabia and Meddle East matoto pa !!!!  HAWR!HAWR!HAWR! HAWr!

    • Anonymous

      really makes you wonder why we could prosper in other countries and not in the Philippines…utak talangka. maraming pinoy dito sa middle east umuunlad dahil binibigyan ng opportunities and using their skills they survive and excel. unfortunately these opportunities are not given in our wretched land and those in power and with means seem to perfect the art of exploiting other pinoys…thats is why we are going backward and there is no development in sight in the horizon…

  • Anonymous

    Ang criteria para ma qualify sa bagong bayani ay kung anong nagawa ng isang OFW na nakakatulong sa lipunan, bayan, kapwa tao kahit na sa maikling pahanon lng atleast may nagawa silang mabuti kahit sa ibang bansa. Marami kasi sa atin na OFW tumanda na lng sa work pero wala rin naman nangyari kasi sarili lng ang iniisip at walang ginawa kundi silipan ang kapwa sa maling gawa.
    For me I’m happy sa mga taong may ganitong malasakit sa lipunan ang sinisikap makatulong maski sa papanong mabuting paraan. I’m sure marami pa sa kapwa natin ang mas may higit na nagawa kaysa sa mga napili pero I’m sure in one thing na kun di man sila nakita ng Bogong bayani foundation God is always there with them at meron then silang magandang reward id due time.
    Mabuhay kayo mga OFW na may ganitong hanagarin sa buhay…God Bless you all at nawa wag kayong magsawa sa kagagawa ng mabuti sa kapwa maski hindi Pinoy.

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