4 Filipino organizations lauded during the 2nd Alex Esclamado Memorial Award for Community Service

By on September 2, 2016


The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and GMA Network through its international  business unit, GMA International successfully concluded the second annual Alex Esclamado Memorial Award for Community Service, which recognizes outstanding Filipino-American organizations that have rendered significant services to the Filipino-American community, the American mainstream, and the Philippines.

The winners for this year are the following: The Filipino Cultural School or FCS based in Norwalk, Los Angeles County; Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. or FAAPI; Filipino American Community Action Group or FilAmCAG of Hampton Roads, Va.; and the Washington DC-based Feed the Hungry.

From left: JT Mallonga, Nony Abrajano (FilAmCAG), Paolo Roca (FCS), ConGen Mario de Leon, Celia Donohue (Feed the Hungry) and Christopher Rivera (FAAPI). (Contributed photo)
From left: JT Mallonga, Nony Abrajano (FilAmCAG), Paolo Roca (FCS), ConGen Mario de Leon, Celia Donohue (Feed the Hungry) and Christopher Rivera (FAAPI). (Contributed photo)

The FCS is known for its cultural-educational curriculum, which creates a sense of Filipino pride and identity for Filipino youth abroad. As it enters its 50th year, FCS aims to further improve its courses on Philippine dance, music, language, history, and lifestyle for a more enriching learning experience. The FCS was the recipient of the Alex Esclamado Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service in Education and Cultural Preservation.

Rozita Lee and Rodel Rodis hand Loving Cup to officers of Filipino Cultural School. Holding cup is Matthew Menchavez and looking on (right) is Paolo Roca, FCS President. (Contributed photo)
Rozita Lee and Rodel Rodis hand Loving Cup to officers of Filipino Cultural School. Holding cup is Matthew Menchavez and looking on (right) is Paolo Roca, FCS President. (Contributed photo)

Founded in 1912 as the Filipino Association of Philadelphia, FAAPI continues to be an active representative of the Philippines and Filipino culture and history in Philadelphia, more than a century after it was established by discharged US Navy personnel. FAAPI’s historic and sustained civic involvement in the state was duly recognized by the Alex Esclamado Memorial Awards’ esteemed Panel of Jurors.

Rodel Rodis handing Loving Cup to Christopher Rivera, President of FAAPI. Between them are Rozita Lee and Michael Dadap. Man at rightmost of pic is Dr. Rommel Rivera, FAAPI Chair. Others are unidentified FAAPI members. (Contributed photo)
Rodel Rodis handing Loving Cup to Christopher Rivera, President of FAAPI. Between them are Rozita Lee and Michael Dadap. Man at rightmost of pic is Dr. Rommel Rivera, FAAPI Chair. Others are unidentified FAAPI members. (Contributed photo)

FilAmCAG was a key player in the struggle of Filipino-Americans to gain equitable rights for Filipino World War II veterans, which paved the way for legislation that gave them much-deserved benefits. For over 25 years, FilAmCAG has been at the forefront of causes that helped Fil-Ams register as voters and participate in mainstream political processes, among others. Its active, tireless, and valuable involvement in the American civic, economic, and political mainstream makes it truly deserving of an Alex Esclamado Memorial Award.

Rodel Rodis handing Loving Cup to Nony Abrajano, FilAmCAG Chairman. Beside him is unidentified FilAmCAG member. (Contributed photo)
Rodel Rodis handing Loving Cup to Nony Abrajano, FilAmCAG Chairman. Beside him is unidentified FilAmCAG member. (Contributed photo)

Feed the Hungry is a volunteer-driven, non-profit charitable organization that was unanimously chosen by the Panel of Jurors for its selfless, meaningful, and multi-faceted efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Philippines. It has been among the first responders to natural disasters in the Philippines, and has been involved in relief and rehabilitation, feeding and nutrition, educational projects, building water systems, gift-giving in orphanages and homes for the aged, livelihood development, and poverty alleviation.

Rodel Rodis (Juror) hands Loving Cup to Feed the Hungry chair Celia Donahue. From left are Rozita Lee (Juror) and Michael Dadap (NaFFAA co-founder). Two ladies on right are unidentified members of Feed the Hungry. (Contributed photo)
Rodel Rodis (Juror) hands Loving Cup to Feed the Hungry chair Celia Donahue. From left are Rozita Lee (Juror) and Michael Dadap (NaFFAA co-founder). Two ladies on right are unidentified members of Feed the Hungry. (Contributed photo)

The awarding ceremony was held last August 5 as part of the four-day 12th NaFFA National Empowerment Conference at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

“Congratulations to all the winners and to NaFFAA for continuing to empower and inspire the Filipino community in the United States. We hope that our partnership as well as all the good work that has already been done will continue on into the future,” said GMA First Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia.

With its vision to bring Filipinos abroad closer to home, GMA International was one with NaFFAA in promoting the values of selflessness and bayahanihan through the award, which is inspired by life and words of NaFFAA founding chairman, champion of Filipino-American unity and empowerment and newspaper publisher-editor, Alex Esclamado. The award is co-presented by GMA International, which is also an exclusive media partner for the event.

“NaFFAA is grateful to GMA International for sponsoring the Alex Esclamado Memorial Awards for Community Service. This has not only kept the legacy of Alex Esclamado fresh in the minds and hearts of the FilAm community, it has inspired many to take up his advocacies and has cast the limelight on the many organizations that have heroically been rendering outstanding services in the FilAm communities, the American mainstream and in the Philippines,” said Mr. Greg Macabenta, Chairman of the Awards Committee and NaFFAA National Chair Emeritus.

Mr. Brendan Flores, newly-elected National Chair, also commended NaFFAA and GMA for making this year’s search as memorable as it was exciting for the Fil-Am community. “There was a strong sense of pride in the Filipino community and it was so exciting to witness and engage in it. I think these awards are key to highlighting community servant leadership in many facets and will drive others to begin or continue what they are doing in their communities. Great job to GMA and NaFFAA!”

Ms. Rozita Lee, Member of the National Board of Governors, also echoed the same sentiment as she described the positive energy during the evening. “There was tremendous excitement and huge smiles on the faces of recipients when their names were called for winning the award! I could see how proud they all were as each group gathered on stage to receive their trophy,” she shared.

“It is a noble and good practice to reward good deeds,” said Dr. Aida Rivera, Chair of the National Empowerment Conference Host Committee. “I am proud to be part of an organization that recognizes the achievements of service organizations. This is empowerment at its best.”

Prior to the awarding ceremony, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo inspired the officials and members of NAFFAA as gala speaker during the National Empowerment Conference held in Pennsylvania.

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