San Francisco organizer gets PH presidential award
SAN FRANCISCO—Community organizer Al Perez received the presidential Banaag Award for Filipino individuals and organizations overseas from President Benigno S. Aquino III in a ceremony at the Malacañang Palace last December.
Perez, a San Francisco city commissioner for entertainment and president of the Filipino American Arts Exposition, earned the honor for his leading role in promoting pride in Philippine cultural heritage among Filipino Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area and for initiatives that have led to a deeper appreciation of Philippine culture by members of the larger public.
Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Marciano A. Paynor, Jr. congratulated Mr. Perez, saying, “Al has been a staunch advocate for Philippine culture and Filipino heritage, and has worked closely with the Consulate in San Francisco for projects that promote awareness of the Philippines.”
Marily Mondejar, president of the Filipina Women’s Network, added, “I have personally known Al since 2004, and I consider him a strategic partner in our coalition building efforts.”
San Francisco Civil Service Commissioner Dennis Normandy, agreed. “For his unselfish work and continuing dedication to community service, Al Perez merits recognition from his beloved homeland,” he said.
The late former President Corazon C. Aquino started the tradition of honoring exemplary Filipino achievers overseas that have shown excellence in their professions and active involvement in support service for Filipino communities worldwide. Since the awards inception in 1991, the biennial recognition has been conferred on 338 awardees from 44 countries. There are an estimated ten million overseas Filipinos in more than 200 countries worldwide. The presidential awards ceremony highlights the celebration of the “Month of Overseas Filipino” in December.
“This ceremony is the country’s way of thanking our awardees for re-imagining the meaning of being Filipino in a globalized world,” said Commission on Filipinos Overseas Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas.
“Banaag” awardees are Filipino individuals or associations who are honored for their contributions towards the promotion and advancement of the interests of overseas Filipino communities. “Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino” are Filipino individuals and organizations overseas who are honored for their exceptional contribution to the progress and development in the Philippines. “Pamana ng Pilipino” awardees are Filipino individuals overseas who have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession. “Kaanib ng Bayan” awardees are foreign individuals or organizations honored for their significant contribution to Philippine reconstruction, progress and development, or have advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.
Of the 29 awardees, 24 are individuals while five are organizations. Some of the 2012 Presidential Awardees include Mr. Allan Pineda Lindo, better known as “Apl.de.Ap,” the hip-hop icon of the famous Black Eyed Peas; Mr. Eric Spoelstra, the first Filipino American head coach of the Miami Heat who won the 2012 U.S. National Basketball Association championship; Ms. Monique Lhuillier, a leading bridal couturier and fashion designer for the stars of Hollywood. The awardees came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
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