If we have Ramon Magsaysay Awards for notable Asians, Visayas and Mindanao grassroot leaders and “agents of change” are searched and honored through the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards.
In a red carpet ceremony held in the spacious Cebu Grand Ballroom of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, a five star hotel in Cebu City, in front of Who’s who of the Visayas and Mindanao community, five grassroot heroes and five outstanding organizations were recognize. I am personally fortunate to see them all and live tweet the event.
Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Oustanding Instititution
The Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation Inc. was the Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Oustanding Instititution Awardee. The organization was selected as this triennial’s awardee from equally deserving organizations which are currently serving their own communities.
I am referring to these well-deserving organizations:
- Agri-Aqua Development Coalition Mindanao Inc.
- Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc.
- Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation Inc.
- SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, and
- The Great Physician Rehabilitation Foundation.
Rene “Tatay Ete” Vendiola, a “self-made environmentalist” from Negros Oriental was awarded as the Ramon Aboitiz Awardee for Exemplary Individual. Tatay Ete is among the top five finalists which include:Fr. Angelo Buenavides, Professor Estrella Cantallopez, Apolinario Leyson Sr., and Fr. Dennis Tamayo.
The Selection Team
The 10 finalists were selected by an independent team of distinguished individuals representing the private sector, academe and civil society. They are:
- Jonathan Jay Aldeguer,Island Souvenirs President
- Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, The Freeman and The Philippine Star Columnist and “Straight from the Sky” Host
- Brother Crispin P. Betita, Marcellin Foundation Inc. Founder
- Leonardo Moneva, Mag-uugmad Foundation Inc. Executive Director
- Margarita dela Cruz is the University of the Philippines-Tacloban College Dean and Guiuan Development Foundation Inc. Founder/Executive Director. She is also the chairperson of the 5th RAFI Triennial Awards.
It was purely a Visayas and Mindanao program and it showed much of how world-class the Visayans and Mindanaoan’s can be. Food was exceptional courtesy of Marco Polo Plaza. No less than the world-reknowed University of the Visayas (UV) Chorale inspired audience with their angelic voices in singing “You Raise Me Up” popularized by Josh Groban. Ma. Cristina Aboitiz and Amaya Aboitiz closed the ceremonies with the touching reading of “A Future Not Our Own” — a touching poem by Archbishop Oscar Romero.
This blogpost will not justify the greatness of these organizations and individuals, but I will try my best to post more about them as soon as I can get more resources.
Hats off to the team and inspiration behind RAFI Triennial Awards.