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4 caregivers cited for Japan heroism

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Four Filipino caregivers working at the Social Welfare Juridical Seihoukai in Komine-en, Shirakawa City, in the southern portion of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, were chosen to receive the 2011 Bagong Bayani Award (New Heroes Award) for Community and Social Service by the Bagong Bayani Foundation in Manila.President Benigno Aquino III is expected to give the award to the four Filipino caregivers in fitting ceremonies at Malacañang on Dec. 1.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez commended Filipino caregivers Gemma F. Juanay, Juliet C. Tobay, Sandra S. Otacan and Mercedes Joie G. Aquino for the recognition bestowed on them.

According to Lopez, despite imminent danger from the nuclear accident that struck Japan last March, the four Filipinos chose to remain in their jobs and continued to provide care and companionship to their Japanese elderly patients.

The four Filipino caregivers are working in the institution for the elderly located in Fukushima Prefecture, some distance away from a no-go zone declared by the Japanese government as an aftermath of the East Japan earthquake and the devastation wrought by the tsunami last March 11.

Lopez said this was not the first time that the four Filipino caregivers were given recognition.

He said they were also bestowed recognition and honor by the Japanese people through the kind words and rewards that have been expressed and heartily given them, including the attention that local media has provided which, he said, serve as true testaments to their heroism.

In fact, last May 11, the four Filipinos were invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Japan Foreign Minister at the Iikura House in Tokyo.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Tokyo headed by Labor Attaché Clifford A. Paragua has nominated the four caregivers for the 2011 Bagong Bayani Award after they showed utmost compassion, even downplaying the significant personal risks they faced at that time, to ensure the safety and survival of their patients.

The award is part of the national search for the Philippines’ outstanding and exemplary overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The award seeks to recognize and pay tribute to OFWs for their significant efforts in fostering goodwill among peoples of the world, enhancing and promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker, and for greatly contributing to the socio-economic development of their communities and the Philippines as a whole.

By ROY C. MABASA




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