President Aquino leads 2011 The Outstanding Filipinos awards rites in Malacañang

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President Benigno S. Aquino III honored the awardees of this year’s search for The Outstanding Filipinos (TOFIL) in ceremonies held at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace on Thursday.

The TOFIL Awards pays tribute to the country’s men and women, 41 years and above of age, who have contributed significantly to the upliftment of the lives of their fellow Filipinos.

The 2011 awardees are: Dr. Jesus Estanislao for Governance; Jose Pardo for Business; Dr. Ramon Nery for Government and Public Service; Sylvia Pendon for Entrepreneurship; and Dr. Emerlinda Ramos for Education.

In his speech, the President lauded the awardees for striving to be the best they could be by continuing to challenge themselves to do more and never settling for mediocrity.

“Sa kaso po ng mga pinaparangalan natin, hindi sila nakuntento sa “pwede na;” hindi sapat sa kanila ang “okey na iyan.” Patuloy nilang hinahamon ang kanilang kakayahan – at ito ang katangiang bumukod sa kanila sa karamihan. Ganitong uri ng kadakilaan ang kinkilala natin ngayong hapon,” the President said.

Estanislao, a former Finance Secretary and accomplished academic, is known for his role in carrying out successful fiscal reforms during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino.

Pardo, a former Trade and Industry Secretary and current chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange, is being cited for pioneering the franchising model in the country.

Nery is being awarded for his untiring work in the poorest province of Mindanao, where he initiated a host of reforms to improve the services of public hospitals and alleviate the ailing healthcare situation.

Pendon is being cited for pioneering the organic food movement in Palawan and her efforts for strengthening the country’s cottage industry by introducing Philippine handicrafts to the world thereby creating a lucrative export market that we still benefit from today.

Roman deserves recognition for her accomplishments, not only for being the first woman president of the University of the Philippines, but also for being a model in education for more than 30 years.

“Tulad ng karamihan, bawa’t isa sa kanila ay nangarap din. Subalit hindi sila tumigil sa pangarap lamang. Mulat silang bawat munting adhikain ay may kaakibat na kaukulang pagkilos at sakripisyo, ng masusing paghahanda at puspusang dedikasyon,” the President said.

“Higit sa lahat, ang saklaw ng mga nais nilang makamit ay hindi lamang para sa kanilang sarili, kundi para sa mas nakakarami – para sa organisasyong kanilang kinabibilangan, para sa kanilang mga pamilya, at higit sa lahat, para sa bayan,” he added.(rck)