UFCH gives out Progress Awards,
25 receives recognition by the community
By the Fil-Am Observer News Bureau
with a report from A. Solver Agcaoili
For the 17th year since it first began to recognize the exemplary achievements of Filipinos in the Hawai’i, the United Filipino Council of Hawai’i gave out the 2007 Progress Awards to 25 individuals who have proven extraordinary gifts and talents that symbolically advance the cause of creating a public recognition of the abilities, skills, and knowledge of Filipinos in Hawai’i.
This recognition, starting in 1990, is the brainchild of Antonio V. Ramil.
Ramil led this year’s honorees with an award of distinction as “Father of the Progress Awards.”
The Juan Dionisio Sr. Lifetime Achievement Service Award and the UFCH Lifetime Achievement Award were given to Oscar Portugal and Mario R. Ramil, respectively.
Brian Andaya, a practicing lawyer and current president of UFCH, extolled the achievement of the awardees and explained the need to keep on doing that which is exemplary so that the perception of the public about Filipinos will change.
The awards, Andaya, said, is a symbol of what a community can do to bring honor to its people by bestowing public recognition upon its members who, by their acts and examples, have proven that we have what it takes to become exemplary members of the society.
Andaya recalled that the Filipino community has so much to do to correct misimpressions about our people.
The awards, Andaya said, is a concrete proof that we can do at par with anyone else because we have the competency and the capacity to excel.
Twenty-five individuals all over the islands received public recognition as recipients of the 2007 Progress Awards; they represented 15 categories of the awards.
One of those who received the Progress Awards for Education is Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili, currently coordinator of the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and columnist and op-page co-writer of Fil-Am Observer.
Other honorees include William S. Julian for agriculture; ‘Iwalani Tseu for arts and entertainment; Leticia Serapion Castillo and Barbara J. Haliniak for community service; Barbara Ann Bongo-Arthurs and Ligaya M. Ricafrente for education; Alma T. Caberto, Erlinda Villena, and Dona Pastula for entrepreneurship; Jorge Marzan and Donovan dela Cruz for government service; Charlene Cuaresma for humanitarian service; John Garcia and Aldrin M. Villahermosa for labor and construction; Randal Grant B. Valenciano and Ronald Ibarra for law and jurisprudence; Mila Medallon for media and communication; Danilo L. Licudine for science and technology; Kurt B. Nino for sports; Louise Abilla and Gregory P. Peros for travel and hospitality; and Deisha Lei M. Pico and Michael A. Dahilig, outstanding youth.
The “Ating Kaibigan Award” was given to David Heenan, a trustee of the Estate of James Campbell.
Heenan was honored for his work with the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu and for his being instrumental in securing a place for the center.
The awards, emceed by Keahi Tucker, anchor of KGMB9, and directed by Leo Rojas Gozar, had for its theme “Above and Beyond.”
During the awards, Judge Simeon Acoba officiated in the re-affirmation of commitment ceremonies involving the officers of UFCH for 2007-2008.
Three young singers, Arshiel Calatrava, Deion Anunciacion, and Mayumi Fernandez, added life to the ceremonies with their individual rendition of some popular songs.
Iwalani and Aureana Tseu, with the Kumu Hula dancers, danced their way to the hearts of the more than 238 guests and participants.