Nearly 19,000 people have attended the grand Philippine Independence Day Celebrations (PIDC) capped by the first-ever awards ceremony honouring outstanding overseas Filipinos in Qatar.
The three-day celebrations, considered the biggest annual gathering of Filipinos here, saw a successful conclusion on Tuesday night with the AFJQ Gawad Parangal para sa Natatanging Overseas Pinoy awards.
Launched by the Alliance of Filipino Journalists in Qatar, the award recognises Filipino workers in Qatar for being a source of pride, honour, inspiration and encouragement to their compatriots and other nationals in Qatar and around the world.
The recipients of this year’s award comprise seven individuals and one organisation involved in various fields and categories. They include Dr Alexander Acosta (Education), Ameera Fabella (Health and Medical Services), Jeanette Gotangogan (Community and Social Services), Raynald Rivera (Journalism and Mass Communication), Eng. Mario Solang (Engineering and Construction) and Annie Barcelona-Esmer (Business and Entrepreneurship.
The award for Outstanding Filipino Organization for Community and Social Services went to Pinoy WISE Qatar, a member of global movement Pinoy Wise (Worldwide Initiative for Investment Savings and Entrepreneurship) International which promotes financial literacy among Filipinos.
Philippine Ambassador Alan Timbayan and Labour Attaché David Des Dicang along with UFOQ Chairman Ressie Fos handed the awards to the honourees.
“To the recipients of the Gawad Parangal award, congratulations for your excellent performance and achievements in your respective expertise. You are certainly a model to the Filipino workers here in Qatar. We look forward to your success in the future,” said Timbayan.
The last day of PIDC also saw the crowning of Lakan at Lakambini ng Kalayaan 2017, a search for the ambassadors of goodwill for the Filipino community.
Karle Haven Reyes and Martina Estrada of Balitang Q were crowned Lakan at Lakambini ng Kalayaan 2017 in a spectacular show marked by a vibrant showcase of Filipino culture and tourism through elegant costumes created by renowned Qatar-based Filipino designers and inspired by Philippine festivals.
Gawad Parangal and Lakan at Lakambini ng Kalayaan were two of the new features launched at this year’s PIDC, organised by United Filipino Organisations in Qatar and Kulinarya Qatar.
“To the members of UFOQ and Kulinarya Qatar, congratulations for a job well done. The 119th Independence Day celebrations have certainly outstripped the past independence day celebrations which you have organized,” said Timbayan, who lauded the organisations for being “very cohesive and cooperative.”
Dicang shared the same view praising the leadership and cooperation of UFOQ, AFJQ and other organisations. “The Philippine government is truly blest because we have hardworking men and women who support our programmes,” he said.
“Let us work together for a strong Filipino community,” Timbayan urged community leaders and members while assuring them of embassy’s support for their future endeavours.
text RAYNALD C. RIVERA