By: Keirth France Eymard Manio and Kassel Clarisse Kraft
During the celebration of the 403rd Foundation Anniversary of Los Baños and the 17th Bañamos Festival, six outstanding citizens and two special awardees were given recognition for their exemplary performance and contributions in their respective fields.
With the theme Bayang Kadluan ng Karunungan, Patuloy na Maglilingkod sa Bayan, the awarding was held at the Activity Hall of the New Municipal Building in Los Baños, Laguna last September 17, 2018.
Outstanding son and daughters
The awardees for this year are Professor Illuminada Velasco-Gomez (Professional Category), Lucy T. Dangue (Outstanding Public School Teacher-Elementary Level), Daisy R. Revilla (Outstanding Public School Teacher-Secondary Level), Teresita R. Delos Reyes, (Outstanding Municipal Government Employee-Administrative Level), Reynaldo G. Mariposte (Outstanding Municipal Government Employee-Administrative Level), and PO2 Melanie Ann G. Mirabel (Outstanding Police Officer).
During his congratulatory speech, Mayor Caesar Perez encouraged the awardees to continue being role models. “Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang magandang ginagawa ninyo sa inyong buhay at sa ating komunidad,” he said as he reminded them to further serve as the ambassadors in the categories where they were given recognition.
‘For the love of the masses’
One of the outstanding citizens, Prof. Illuminado Velasco-Gomez, said that the recognition has motivated her to engage more in voluntary work and promote sustainable livelihood and development initiatives for the masses whom she said are very close to her vocation as the private sector representative in the National Anti-Poverty Commission. She also added that the fulfillment of reaching to the masses is her inspiration to continue rendering her services.
“Tumutulong ako dahil nakikita ko na talagang may pangangailangan,” said Lucy T. Dangue, another outstanding citizen. She added that apart from constantly excelling in her teaching profession, the recognition has also inspired her to continue joining and encouraging others to volunteer on service programs for the community. Furthermore, she emphasized that the recognition is not simply a title, but a great responsibility for them to embody.
International LB Pride
Special recognitions were also given to Forester Roberto Centeno and Sofia Tidon for their significant contributions in the municipality. Tidon, 91 years old, is a former municipal councilor of Los Baños who was awarded of the prestigious US Congressional Gold Medal by the United States of America for helping a wounded soldier from a plane crash in Barangay Tuntungin-Putho during the Second World War.
In her acceptance speech, Tidon recalled the joy and pride of being recognized abroad as a native of the town of Los Baños. She also added that her recognition can serve as an inspiration to the youth to prove that people from a small town can become model citizens of the entire nation.
“Maunlad ang bayan dahil sa magagaling na mamamayan,” said Laguna Provincial Board Member Ruth Hernandez as she commended the annual initiative of the local municipal government for recognizing the efforts of citizens of Los Baños in line with its 403rd founding anniversary. The wife of the governor also mentioned that the event can serve as an opportunity to feature the role models who can empower the community members for the continuous progress of the town.
Exhaustive selection process
According to the Local Civil Registrar Glen Arietta, the call for nominations began in May 2018. This is two months earlier than the usual schedule since they aim to have more nominees this year. He added that each category had a special committee in charge of evaluating and deliberating. Each of the categories also had different criterias. However, the key qualifications were the nominees’ achievements and impacts to the community that are beyond their offic
Arieta emphasized that the evaluation was done not by merely assessing the profile of the nominees, but through interviewing the nominators. He said that it is the best way to evaluate the true achievements and not the self-nominated awards of the participants. From the nominees, the top three were selected and their names were forwarded to the mayor for approval. The outstanding citizens received trophies, plaques of appreciation, and cash prizes for their awards.
The event was also attended by Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, Vice Governor Karen Agapay, and Laguna 2nd District Congressman Joaquin M. Chipeco, Jr. as the guests of honor. Furthermore, the Sangguniang Bayan of Los Baños and other local government officials were also present.