A teacher who provided education for a community of indigenous folk, a former OFW and electrician who aimed to properly equip his countrymen for employment without cost, and a group of advocates that empowers the hearing-impaired were recently honored with the prestigious Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards given by ABS-CBN and the Ugat Foundation to honor modern day unsung heroes.
“We have just proven to ourselves that, in the aftermath of any tragedy, the first thing that rises is always a much stronger Filipino people,” said ABS-CBN Chairman Eugenio Lopez III in his opening remarks. “But we have also proven that we don’t need extraordinary events to bring out the best in us.”
The title of Bayaning Pilipino this year went to two individuals, namely Lilia Diaz from Culion, Palawan and former OFW Leonilo Beltran. Diaz, a teacher for many years, sought out to address the shock she experienced upon seeing the marginalization and discrimination that were being experienced by the Tagbanua community. She thus began a new teaching career that involved boat rides and treks to set up a learning program for the hopeful Tagbanua people.
Meanwhile, Beltran, a former OFW and electrician, used the experience he had teaching electrical skills to inmates as a volunteer of the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education to set up the Skills Caravan, which imparts basic knowledge on plumbing and electrical skills. The Skills Caravan gives courses on how to become a cook, barber, or computer technician—all taught for free by its volunteer educators.
The Bayaning Samahang Pilipino award, on the other hand, went to a group that advocates education for hearing impaired children, IDEA Philippines, Inc., while the Bayaning Kabataang Pilipino award went to John Michael Delariarte. Bayaning Pilipino sa Gawing Japan award went to Jeppie Ramada and the Bayaning Pilipino sa North America awards were conferred to ANAK, the Carolina Medical Mission, and the Filipino-American Community Development Center.
The awards night held at the Dolphy Theatre was hosted by Iza Calzado and Atom Araullo with special guests Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, Robi Domingo, Khalil Ramos, Ella Cruz, Kitchie Nadal, Alvin and Jeron Teng, Aia de Leon, Kitchie Nadal, Nicole Asensio, Angeline Quinto, Klarisse, Tutti Karingal, Jovit Baldivino, Yeng Constantino, Cookie Chua, Bayang Barrios, Lolita Carbon, the Reo Brothers, and Azkals members Nate Burky and OJ Porteria.
The Bayaning Pilipino Awards was established by the late Eugenio Lopez Jr., founder of ABS-CBN Corporation, the largest multimedia conglomerate in the Philippines, to highlight the accomplishments of dedicated and determined Filipinos in the field of public service.
Catch the 2014 Gawad Geny Lopez Bayaning Pilipino awards night airing on ABS-CBN this Saturday (June 14) at 10:30pm.