Pandemic overseas modern heroes honored


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Fifteen sea-and-land-based Filipino workers in Asia and the Middle East recognized as 2021 Bagong Bayani are “beacons of success for every working men and women in pandemic times.

“For your sacrifices and love for what you are doing, you are honoured,” Vice Admiral Eduardo Ma. R. Santos, Bagong Bayani Foundation Inc. president, says in in a virtual awards ceremony on June 7 Migrants Workers Day.

Filipino seafarers are among seven 2021 Bagong Bayani Community and Social Service Award winners.
“The opportunity to save lives is already an award. No act of kindness is small,” says Captain Victor Distor, of MV Aspri. He and Filipino crew rescued 12 Syrian refugees adrift in Mediterranean sea between Turkey and Cyprus in July 2018.

“God guided us to be at the right time and at the right place during this difficult time of pandemic. He used me and my crew to bring them back alive to their families,” says Capt. Felipe Lagcauon of liquefied petroleum gas carrier Quebec. They rescued three Filipinos in a sinking rowboat in Philippine waters on November 3, 2019.

Until quarantine ended February 19, 2020, over 600 Diamond Princess cruise ship’s Filipino crew, quarantined in Yokohama, Japan following a coronavirus outbreak, delivered food, water, medicine to passengers, and shared rooms, toilets and dining spaces to 3,711 people.
“They (crew) could have all the reason to take the rest because they were being quarantined – but instead, they continue serving,” says Labor Secretary Sylvestre Bello III.

Because the Diamond Princess’s Filipino crew were not nominated for the 2021 Bagong Bayani Award by their employer, manning agency, or Labor Department, they may have the chance in the next, biannual world-wide search for Bagong Bayani, says Fe Mabini, BBFI Secretariat.

Even before Covid19 dictated social distancing, Culture and the Arts awardee Ms. Regina Elizabeth Malabayabas-Vallejos created in Brunei the first ballet pas de deux using a rattan cane for partnering support to satisfy the law on proximity between male and female, with no physical touching.

Basketball coach Baby Dalupan’s daughter, Lourdes, is among her foundation teachers. National Dance Artist Alice Reyes gave her a Ballet Philippines dance scholarship. Royal Academy of Dance organiser Nestor Jarden opened teaching opportunities. Felicitas Radaic encouraged her to write ballet manuals; Vyner Dennis Ward employed Vallejos to run Brunei’s En Pointe Academy of Dance.

Blas F. Ople Award Para sa Natatanging Bagong Bayani, nurse Divina Digap, is United Arab Emirates’ Filipino community ambassador.
BBA Outstanding Employee and Community and Social Service Awardees help distressed, suicidal, repatriated OFWs; distribute pandemic food packs:

Hotel Hero Ronin Ronald Endozo, Dubai; Engineer Arnel Aguas, Saudi Arabia; Alfredo Pacis, New Zealand; Rodelia Pedro, Hongkong; Dheng Regalado, Oman; “Chairman” Rodney Queman, Global Pinoy Idol 2019, South Korea.

Alfred Salvador’s Covid19 tracing device has over 200,000 down-loads in Oman.

Lito Doblado, Bahrain’s certified life saver, brings out the best in others.
Engr. Resty Sibug is also 2019 Model OFW Family Awardee, Saudi Arabia.

Multi-awarded master photographer Jophel Ybiosa is Culture and the Arts Awardee.

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