Fructuosa Alma "Neneng" Olivo (Winner)
- Davao City
- Region 10
A lifetime of service to others is no small feat. For 30 years, Neneng Olivo has served as a social worker in far-flung communities of Davao City. Neneng is well-known in the Badjao community and has helped generations of Badjaos. To be able to serve Badjaos better, Ate Neneng, as they fondly call her, has lived with them in the past three decades.
As a community, the Badjaos do not belong to the Indigenous Peoples Association (IPA). This ‘floating’ status in the indigenous community has denied their people some basic services like education from the local government units. Even the Catholic Church finds it hard to determine the needs of their growing population. Despite these challenges, Neneng was determined to extend help to the Badjao Community.
The lack of budget for her proposed projects did not stop Neneng from persevering and pushing through with her advocacies, one of which is to alleviate the live of the Badjaos. The Angat Buhay Badjao Project involves a great deal of work and responsibility and the lack of support from the local government and nearby communities made it especially difficult for Neneng to carry out her massive tasks.
Neneng believes that the future of the Badjaos lie in the hands of the youth and this is where some of her projects are focused. With the help of donations from friends, the church and donors who believe in her causes, she was able to build learning centers in the Badjao community in Isla Verde and DAPSA. Inside the centers, you can find books, tables and chairs, a small kitchen, and some tablewares. The volunteer teachers of the center conduct feedings for the children before the start of each class. In the center, they teach children how to read and write, pray, as well as proper hygiene.
Through the years, the learning center was able to produce elementary and high school graduates. Some of the graduates even proceeded to taking 2-year vocational courses.
While most people dream to have better lives, Neneng dreamt the same, not for herself, but for the Badjaos. She dedicated a big part of her life to make this dream happen. Her hard work and sacrifices in the past three decades opened opportunities for the indigenous group that looks up to her as their hero.
Darlito Palermo (Special Awardee)
- Tagum City, Davao Del Norte
- Region 10
A great leader and a good friend, that is how people know Darlito Palermo, also called Darling by those close to him. Darling is an electronics communication engineer by profession. He is also a PWD (person with disability) who helps fellow PWDs.
He initiated programs such as values formation trainings that empowered his fellow PWDs and gave them the confidence to thrive in society despite their disabilities. Their renewed self-confidence also enabled them to seek the help of the local government for their livelihood programs. Darling also sought the assistance of NGs and private organizations and through his determination, they granted them with building materials. These materials will be used to build a one-stop-shop building for the PWDs’ livelihood program trainings for horticulture, farming, and carpentry.
Aside from these programs, Darling continues to inspire and empower fellow PWDs through the virtual online trainings he conducts to help them find a regular source of income even at the comfort of their own homes.
Frederick Epistola (Finalist)
- Parañaque City
Heroes are our light in the darkest of times. And that is what Frederick Epistola is for the Mangyans in Mindoro, Aetas in Zambales, and other indigenous tribes in the Philippines. These remote communities consider Frederick as the “solar man” for installing their lights using solar energy. He also founded “Si Liit Aralan,” a solar-powered mini-library for the Ivatans in Batanes.
As one of the first responders to typhoon Yolanda, he also provided lighting system for the rescuers and health workers. He built a solar-powered E-Library Nipa Hut with an android-based computer which was used as an alternative learning tool for students affected by the disaster.
More than just providing light through solar technology, Frederick gives hope and inspiration to these communities with his resourcefulness and passion to help.
Dominga Mayoc (Finalist)
- San Jose, Nueva Ecija
- Region 3
Dominga Mayoc, know to many as Carmen, is the type of person who’s always ready to help other people. Carmen is a simple housewife whi is also a PWD or a person with disability. But the deformintiy in her hands does not stop her from reaching out to those in need.
Carmen works as a volunteer community health-based worker. Having a genuine concern for her neighbors and the people in her community, she takes the extra mile to accompany them to the hospital when they need medical attention. The people in her community knows that they can always count on her during emergencies, even in the wee hours of the morning. She aslos undertakes the task of approaching the social welfare section of the hospital for help on behalf of the patient and his or her family.
Her passion to help goes beyond her disabilities, and that makes her a complete person. In many ways, Carmen has proven that to be a hero, we just need a heart dedicated to serving others.
Lamberto P. Armada, Jr. (Finalist)
- Sagay City, Negros Occidental
- Region 6
As a volunteer project director of Ikthus Redeemed Community (IRC), Lamberto goes around Purok Bangkal to talk to the members of its community to find out their concerns. Living for a few years in the community, he found out that one of the major concerns of the people is the absence of comfort rooms. He made it his priority project and today, using the donations he collected and with the help of other residents, he was able to build several comfort rooms which the community now uses.
Aside from the previous project mentioned, he also managed to help in the community’s livelihood by giving fishing boats to the community’s fishermen. More than finding resources for his projects, one of Lambert’s challenges is how to change the mindset of the people of Purok Bangkal towards livelihood. Through his perseverance and good will, he was able to inspire the community and empower them to make their lives better.
- Edmond M. Corpuz - Makati City, NCR
- Edwin M. Candido - Dasmariñas City, Region 4-A
- Windel V. Alvarez - Caramoan Camarines Sur, Region 5
- Jose Felino P. Resol, Jr. - Pototan Iloilo, Region 6
- Rainero B. Balbin - Loboc, Bohol, Region 7
- Edgardo E. Dacoco - Cagayan De Oro City, Region 10