By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News | 12/05/2012 7:45 PM
MANILA - President Aquino recognized overseas Filipino individuals and groups who have excelled in their respective fields and who have played an active role in helping Filipino communities abroad.
The awardees include foreign individuals who have helped advance the cause of Filipinos overseas.
A total of 29 individuals and groups received this year’s Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (PAFIOO) administered by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
Among the awardees of the Pamana ng Pilipino category was Allan Pineda, also known as apl.de.ap, who performed “Bebot” during the awarding ceremony in Malacañang.
Aquino said Pineda’s performance helped lift his spirits, having been faced with an increasing death toll brought about by typhoon “Pablo.” He described the casualty count as “alarming.”
“I really had so much bad news today, especially from the effects of typhoon ‘Pablo.’ Your song really lifted us up. The numbers seem to be alarming. Hopefully, they were erroneous numbers which would be corrected soon,” Aquino said in his speech.
Aquino cited Pineda for giving back to the country, recalling that the international rapper had visited Cagayan de Oro City in the aftermath of tropical storm “Sendong” in 2011 and also donated a new school building.
Aquino hopes that the people will exhibit the Filipino spirit of “bayanihan” and again help those affected by typhoon “Pablo.”
He noted that there has been improvement in the government’s preparation for typhoons and cited the greater cooperation from residents living in the affected areas.
“I'm happy to say that we have made progress in how we anticipate and respond to natural disasters. Just as government has become pro-active, I've seen a greater spirit of cooperation among our fellow citizens. Still, Pablo has taken its toll. And I am confident that those of you who have always been giving generously in the past will take the time to lend a helping hand where it is needed,” Aquino said.
“We're proving to the world that geographical gaps cannot shake the unity of the Filipino people. At this time of rebuilding for our people, let us work together in the spirit of bayanihan, the spirit that has always pushed our country past any adversity towards a better tomorrow.”
Sending representatives to receive their plaques were other notable Pamana ng Pilipino awardees: fashion designer Monique Lhuillier and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.