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Today is June 18, 2008

Contributions to the Community

The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award

Evangelista, Meloto, Orlina and Ramos win the 2006 TOFIL Awards

Two agents of social transformation, a wizard of glass art, and a business maverick are this year's winners of the prestigious THE OUTSANDING FILIPINO (TOFIL) awards. FATHER MARCIANO "ROCKY" G. EVANGELISTA, SDB, Service - Non-Government Organization; ANTONIO P. MELOTO, JR., Humanitarian Service; RAMON G. ORLINA, Arts; and SOCORRO C. RAMOS, Business were honored by Insular Life Chairman Vicente R. Ayllon and JCI Senate National President Severo dela Cruz, and witnessed by hundreds of guests from the business sector, art circles, non-government organizations, the religious and government agencies.

The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) awards is a joint project of the Insular Life Assurance, Company, Ltd., and the JCI Senate Philippines. The award is bestowed on Filipinos, at least 41 years old, who have led a life of excellence in their chosen field, and have contributed immensely to public welfare and national development.

The four winners, though coming from diverse backgrounds and fields, share two common values: the passion to excel and to make a difference in their community. These are evident in their lives and their accomplishments. Guest of Honor, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Artemio Panganiban said that "with their continued zest for living and for giving of themselves, our awardees inspire us to believe that what our minds can conceive, we can achieve, whatever age we are in.

A haven for street children

Father Evangelista established the Tuloy Foundation, Inc. in 1993 at the Don Bosco Parish in Makati as a haven for orphaned and abandoned street children. He saw the human potential of these children, and recognized the transformative power that nurturing and education can bring them. Under its roof, children flourish in a caring and structured environment that encourages their growth. Their opportunity for a better future is boosted with the center's non-formal education program, which consists of five primary levels, and two vocational levels.

The bayanihan spirit in GK

Meloto's vision for Gawad Kalinga was to build integrated, holistic and sustainable communities in depressed areas. Exposed at a very young age to the dehumanizing effects of poverty, he brought to life his belief that a decent and peaceful environment "provides the right setting for people to dream bigger, and [to] work harder." Today, Gawad Kalinga is being carried out in over 850 communities nationwide, and in four other countries as well. The project now has more than two hundred thousand beneficiaries - poor families who for the first time are living in a real and decent house. Meloto's achievement, however, goes beyond having placed a roof over the heads of countless needy Filipinos. He has also been instrumental in sparking the spirit of cooperation, or "bayanihan" among diverse, and oftentimes, competing groups. He was able to achieve this through Gawad Kalinga's set-up in that it provides the framework, the principle and the spirit, but any one can be a part of it. Meloto and Gawad Kalinga aims to build 7,000 communities by 2010.

Marvels of fluidity and grace in glass sculpture

For thirty years, Ramon G. Orlina has been churning out marvels of such fluidity and sinuous grace that have caught the attention and admiration of both the local and the international art scenes. Orlina is completely self-taught, having mastered the techniques in glass sculpture through experimentation and innovation. He is notable for being the first glass sculptor in the country to employ the cold method in cutting, grinding and polishing his artwork, with improvised tools and equipment. He has made his mark using primarily green glass in his sculptures.

Grand dame of book publishing

Socorro C. Ramos co-founded National Bookstore with her late husband Jose Ramos in 1942. Through her determination and entrepreneurial skills, she has built a thriving business enterprise that has not only provided employment to thousands of Filipino workers but also helped in shaping the collective consciousness of Filipinos through quality books and reading materials within the reach of every Filipino, through her family enterprise, National Bookstore.

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