2012 Presidential Awardees

December 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

President Benigno S. Aquino III honored 29 distinguished and outstanding overseas Filipinos and foreign-based organizations during the Awarding Ceremonies for the 2012 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas last 5 December, 2012 at Malacañan Palace.

This year’s Presidential Award list honors 22 Filipinos, five Filipino organizations, and two foreign nationals from 14 countries, this year’s awardees are living testaments to the enduring spirit of bayanihan, perseverance, hard work, and exemplary service towards the advancement and improvement of the lives of Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad.

 A total of 137 nominations from 26 countries were received and were screened by three different committees including representatives from the government, civil society, media, academe, religious and business sectors, and finally the President of the Philippines.

Sydney’s Own Argel Receives Banaag Award

 Attorney Imelda L. Argel has clinched the “Banaag Award” for 2012. Argel was the only winner from Australia and won over 8 other nominations, beating Amores and Andres for the much coveted “Banaag Award.” 

Argel, a UP alumna, has been in Australia since 1988 and has helped promote Philippine-Australian relations.  She has focused her efforts on migration and settlement issues. She worked for the review of the country education profile which has made it possible for professionals to enter Australia. She is also a recipient of the Filipino Australia Women’s Award (FAWAA). 

Imelda Argel now joins the winners circle from Australia to include:  Dante Juanta, Marina Ruivivar, Lolita Farmer OAM, Philippine Australian Sports Council (PASC), Centre for Philippine Concerns, Kawayan Philippine Language and Cultural School, Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA), and the Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC-NSW).  Pamana awardees include:  Edith Dizon Fitzsimmons, Merlinda Bobis and Arlene Chai.

The Presidential Awards was initiated by former President Corazon Aquino in 1991 to gratefully acknowledge overseas Filipinos for their contribution to the welfare, development and progress of the Philippines and who have upheld the Filipino cultural values with integrity.

The Presidential Awards are organized through the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO) biennially and are given under four categories:  The Banaag Award, The Linkapil Award (Lingkod sa Kapwa), Kaanib ng Bayan Award, and Pamana ng Pilipino Award.  Next awards are scheduled for 2014.

The 2012 Honor Roll

Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Awardees


Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino awardees are Filipino individuals and organizations overseas honored for their exceptional or significant contribution to the progress and development in the Philippines.






Dr.  Manuel A. Cacdac, a neuro-surgical doctor based in Boston, Massachusetts, treats disadvantaged children afflicted with hydrocephalus in the Philippines. Dr. Christopher M. Guerrero, a medical doctor based in Chicago, Illinois, addresses the health needs of his kababayans in Nueva Vizcaya. The Aguman Kapampangan UK is a charitable organization which aims to build the cultural awareness of second generation Filipinos in London, while maintaining philanthropic activities in Pampanga.

Kaanib ng Bayan Awardees

Kaanib ng Bayan awardees are foreign individuals or organizations honored for their exceptional and significant contribution to Philippine reconstruction, progress and development, or advancing the cause of overseas Filipino communities. 







Dr. Gonen Haba, a specialist surgeon, has contributed to the well-being of overseas Filipinos in Israel. Dr. Christian Loehlein, an expert in reconstructive surgery, has treated Filipinos with harelip and cleft palate problems.

Banaag Awardees

Banaag awardees are Filipino individuals or associations overseas honoured for their contributions in advancing the cause of overseas Filipino communities or sectors.










Engr. Carlito E. Alpay advocated for the extension of Philippine professional licensure examinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Atty. Imelda L. Argel, immigration lawyer and journalist, advocated for the mutual recognition of skills and qualifications of Filipino migrants in Australia. Tomas P. Avendaño Sr., a member of the Multicultural Advisory Council of British Columbia extends support to newly-arrived migrants in Canada. Rafael S. Castaños is instrumental in strengthening the ties that bind the Filipino communities throughout Alaska. The Filipiniana–Europa V.Z.W., a multicultural non-profit organization, promotes migrant women empowerment in Belgium through educational and cultural activities. The Filipino Community of Seattle is a non-profit organization in the State of Washington, committed to serving the needs of Filipino-Americans since the 1930s. The Filipino Digerati Association, a non-profit organization composed of IT professionals, enhances the skills of overseas Filipino workers in the UAE. Luzviminda S. Micabalo promotes Philippine culture and heritage appreciation in the Filipino-American community of New York and Nevada. Al Perez Jr., Commissioner of San Francisco Entertainment Commission, promotes Philippine culture to overseas Filipino community in San Francisco. Lt. Eric Michael B. Quema of San Francisco Police Department, protects the Filipino American community, and provides training services to the Philippine National Police. Robert Santos is a civil rights leader whose work in urban housing and community development helped many immigrants in the US. Ma. Luzviminda Tsai initiated projects that advance the interests and welfare of fellow Filipino migrants in Taiwan. The Stichting Bayanihan is a self-help women’s organization which aims to advance the participation, integration and emancipation of Filipinas through empowerment in The Netherlands.

Pamana ng Pilipino Awrdees

 The 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. 






Engr. Mary Jane A. Al-Mahdi is the CEO of the Geoscience Testing Laboratory, the biggest independent testing laboratory operating in the Middle East. Dr. Delia R. Amaya is a retired professor of the University of Campinas and an esteemed food technology expert in Brazil. Dr. Samuel Bernal, a cancer specialist and lawyer, is the pioneer of stem cell research in the Philippines. Dr. Antonio Fernando III is a psychiatry professor and an expert in the field of sleep medicine in New Zealand. Almira Astudillo Gilles is an award-winning writer and editor in the US. Dianne Monique Lhuillier is one of the leading bridal couturier and fashion designers in the US. Allan “” Pineda is from the famous Black Eyed Peas Group, who never forgets his cultural roots, and a supporter of youth education program in the Philippines. Dr. Ruth Elynia S. Mabanglo, professor at the University of Hawaii, is a strong advocate of Filipino language and culture in the US. Jorge Z. Ortoll is the Executive Director of Ma-Yi, a premier Asian-American theater company in New York which has nurtured Filipino-American artists over the years. Eric C. Spoelstra is the first Filipino-American head coach to win the US National Basketball Association championship for the Miami Heat team. Dr.  Francisca Tolete-Velcek is a multi-awarded and notable pediatric doctor and academician in the US.

In conferring the Awards, the President will be assisted by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Commission on Filipinos Overseas Chairperson, Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas.  The next Presidential Awards are scheduled for 2014.



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