PAFC honors 2009 ‘Dakila’ Awardees
|Posted by Manila Mail under Articles/Stories|
Five Filipino Americans in the greater Washington D.C. area who have distinguished themselves in volunteer work, leadership roles and commitment to the community were presented with the prestigious “Dakila” award at luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel September 27 here in Washington D.C. Two others were given special awards for their “outstanding work.”
Sponsored by the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), the 2009 awardees who were selected after a thorough review by a five-member board of judges are: Community Service – Ernesto Cordero, the quintessential community volunteer; Health Profession – Dr. Honorato Nicodemus, a respected anesthesiologist and humanitarian; Arts and Culture – Noel “Sonny” Izon, a filmmaker with a social conscience; Education – Realista Rodriguez, an innovative and accomplished educator; and Business Leadership – Antonio “Bong” David, a corporate leader in the Philippines and the US.
The Dakila awards committee gave special awards to retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, the general who exposed the abuse in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and later helped Filipino World War II veterans seeking recognition for their service to the US; and Jason Garcia Ignacio, an accomplished choreographer and ballet dancer. Maurese Owens was also awarded the Dakila Lifetime Achievement Award.
The criteria used by the board of judges – composed of Celso Mataac (chair), Lulu Alexander, Orlando Barbosa, Lottie Buhain and Mencie Hairston – were quality and extent of activities undertaken related to the award category, quality and extent of leadership roles and commitment to the Filipino American community.
- Izon is an artist whose films address the needs of underserved and minority audiences. Among his notable films are “Sandaan,” a documentary on the struggles and successes of Filipinos in the US in the last century; “An Untold Triumph,” the exploits of two Filipino World War II infantry regiments; US government-contracted films on homelessness, equal opportunity, anti-violence and other issues affecting Asian Americans. He also teaches young filmmakers and works with volunteer group of students. Izon’s body of work has contributed to the uplift of minority groups and the underserved and has told the Filipino American story in a compelling and forthright way.
- Cordero is known in the community as a “volunteer for life.” A bachelor of arts in communications graduate from American University and an “Ilocano of the Year” 2008 awardee, Ernie “is always there when the community needs need him.” A past president of various local organizations, Ernie is also involved in almost all big Filipino American activities in the area, including the annual Philippine festival. He also volunteers to join medical and other humanitarian missions to the Philippines, including the Feed the Hungry.
-David is a “successful business leader with a heart for civic and community affairs.” His last post before his retirement from the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank, was as portfolio manager of Southern Europe and Central Asia. A graduate of the Asian Institute of Management, his rise to the top has been described as meteoric. Last post before retirement was as IFC’s Portfolio Manager of Southern Europe and Central Asia. His journey in volunteerism is equally Impressive.
-Dr. Nicodemus is a physician, a teacher, and a humanitarian. A graduate of medicine from Far Eastern University in Manila, Dr. Nicodemus has achieved a lot of “firsts”. He is the first Filipino Medical Officer to attain a senior Navy rank of Captain; the first Filipino Medical Officer to chair a department in the U.S. Navy’s premier training hospital; the first Filipino professor at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences and the first Filipino Chairman for the Department of Anesthesia at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. His involvement in community includes joining the medical team of “Operation Smile” and co-founded the Philippine American Group of Educators and Surgeons (PAGES).
- Rodriguez’s career started as a kindergarten teacher who later rose to become a school administrator in Virginia. After 32 years of service to the Fairfax County Schools, she retired and later shared her expertise with the Prince George’s County Public School System in Maryland as a “teacher leadership and professional development specialist, and mentor to nearly 1,000 international educators.” She designed and implemented workshops for new teachers many of whom were recruited from the Philippines. Rodriguez designed and trained volunteer teachers for “Paaralang Pinoy” of the Catholic Ministry of Northern Virginia.