Ten older persons honored in the 27th Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda Awards
Quezon City - Ten older persons who have been selflessly serving others in the field of health, indigenous peoples’ cultural preservation, older persons, informal workers, urban poor, land tenure, and farming were honored in the 27th Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda (SUN) Awards held by Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) on 08 October 2017 at the Ramon Magsaysay Hall, SSS Building, Quezon City.
The Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda Awards is an annual nationwide award-giving event that started in 1991 to recognize the important contributions and services of older persons in the society. Recipients of SUN Awards 2017 are Eduardo Albonia, 79, Bandayan Danwat, 79, Angelina Ipong, 72, Erlinda Libor, 76, Cecilia Ruiz, 80, Anita Castor, 64, Esperanza Escoton, 72, Josef Feliciano, 71, Salvacion Garcia, 64, and Leonita Labitag, 73.
Senator Risa Hontiveros graced the event and honored in her speech not only the awardees this year but also the previous awardees and all other older persons who continue to serve others in their own ways.
“The chance to serve our country and our communities does not know age. It is from older persons whom we learn good values, history of our family, and lessons from the past. It will be a shame and great loss to ourselves, to our children, and to our nation if we cannot take care of and preserve their stories, wisdoms and examples.”
Vice President Leni Robredo also gave a video message encouraging older persons to continue serving the people and the country to bring about important changes.
She said, “We cannot deny their dedication to help in improving the quality of life in our community despite their own challenges in life. This shows us that age, gender and status in life cannot hinder someone’s will to push for changes in our country.”
The ceremony was ended with Noel Cabangon’s serenade to the awardees with songs such as Kanlungan, Handog and Kahit Maputi Na ang Buhok Ko.
Leonita Labitag has been volunteering as barangay health worker for 31 years. She had been visiting upland and rural communities to help residents of 13 sitios in Antipolo City in accessing health services.
Salvacion Garcia has been a barangay health worker for 28 years. She was a traditional midwife while helping in pre-natal care and children’s vaccination, and assisting midwives in providing health services.
Josef Feliciano was affiliated with Zone One Tondo Organization – an organized group advocating for urban poor issues like security of land tenure during Martial Law. He headed Navotas Library, and brought changes like its accreditation to National Library and digitalization.
Esperanza Escoton was a member of urban poor group called SAMA-SAMA during Martial Law years. They successfully advocated for land rights of many informal settlers in Commonwealth areas. She was also instrumental in building a three-storey center of PILKAN – an older people federation, which has become a place for their income-generating activities and meetings of many older people organizations.
Anita Castor has been a volunteer barangay health worker for 34 years. She also served as a barangay service point for 23 years even without salary.
Eduardo Albonia hailed from Catanduanes but is now residing in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan. He is a compassionate volunteer and guardian to abandoned older women in Group Home. He also has been working, along with Confederation of Older Person Associations of the Philippines (COPAP), to ensure that the marginalized older persons would know and access their rights and entitlements.
Bandayan Danwata is a Tagakolu weaver and part of Lumad ethnic group from Datu Danwata, Malita, Davao Occidental. She mentors teachers and children on traditional design of embroidery, weaving, and beads making. She also formed a School of Living Tradition that upholds indigenous people education.
Angelina Ipong is a Bicolana who is working with agricultural workers for just wages and democratic rights. She also initiated organic farming and other income-generating projects in the jail compound when she was a political prisoner.
Erlinda Libor has been serving fellow older persons since 1998, and instrumental in increasing awareness on their rights and entitlements. She also introduced the “Damayan” program in their barangay – wherein each resident would contribute for cash assistance to family of deceased resident.
Cecilia Ruiz is a founder of Alay Bayan Luzon Incorporated (ABI). She helped in the formation of a justice and peace-creation group that works for the protection of human rights of the rural poor.
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