Outstanding overseas Filipino workers get Bagong Bayani awardsBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
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.