3rd Dr. Rizal Awards unfold

Ben Ongoco/PNS

HOUSTON, Texas — The 3rd Dr. Jose Rizal Excellence Awards night have five outstanding Filipino Americans and a dance company honored last Saturday July 10 at the First Filipino American United Methodist Church on S. Kirkwood between Beechnut and Bissonnet in Houston, Texas.

This year’s awardee were: Jimmy Viray for Journalism, Bibiano Arzadon for International Service,Merlita Velasquez for EntrepreEnEntrepren eurshipfi for International Banking, Juliet Ringer Awitan for Cultural Revival and Tropical Rhythms, for the Arts.

Viray has been a professional journalist for 40 years, starting with the pre-martial law The Manila Times, published by Chino Roces until today’s The Manila Headline, published in the Houston area and environs while Arzadon retired from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok, Thailand and worked for Houston World Trade Association.

Velasquez is a nurse engaged in home health services and personal care homes and had been cited by Philippine Nurses Association of America while Refi has over 40 years of international banking experience starting JP Morgan Chase(Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New ) and now senior VP of Southwestern National Bank and Nevada National Bank for international banking and information technology and security systems.

Awitan, a lawyer, has been a community leader for almost 30 years and advocate of cultural revival, heading the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. leading the celebration of June 12 Philippine independence days with Thanksgiving masses, Santacruzan, Binibining Pilipinas pageant and “pabasa” of Passion of Christ during Lent while Tropical Rhythms(ex-Blend 32) showcases the arts in Philippine music, folkdances and the performing arts, cultivating the Filipino talents.

Recipients of now prestigious awards were: the late Norma Benzon for Humanitarian Service, Dr. Arsenio Martin for Medical Service, Lirio Vital for the Arts, Manolo de Perio for Architecture, Marie Alexis Relampagos for Education, Luceli Cuasay for Public Health and Atty. Arlene Machetta for Community Service, Judge Toni Ingversen for Public Service, Dr. Jun Paraguya for Medical Service, Praxedes Victoriano for Education and Cherry Sloan Medrano for Nursing.

The basis for the search were education, training and competency, 40 per cent; community drive, dedication and or passion, 40 per cent and attitude and PR, 20 per cent.

The Board of Trustees is composed of Ben Ongoco, Commander; Lope Lindio, Deputy Commander; Mel Garraton, Chancellor; Romy Diaz, Pursuivant; Silver dela Rosa, Exchequeranolo de Perio, Archivist; Ave Basa, Trustee; Dr. Jun Paraguya, Trustee and Rolando Rasos, Trustee.

The awards are given on different educational disciplines, careers, vocations or avocations and pursuits in honor of the Great Malayan who was not only a patriot and hero but a multitalented gifted Filipino.