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Miriam to World Crime Court

Congratulations to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on her election as a judge of the International Criminal Court by the Assembly of States Parties on Monday, Dec. 12 at the United Nations, New York. That makes her the first Asian from a developing state to serve as ICC judge, and brings honor to the Philippines. That’s good news at this time when things seem to be so unsettling, and confusing.

Santiago and five other new judges will take their oath of office in March next year, but she will assume her post in The Hague, Netherlands when the ICC calls her to report for duty.

That’s good news, too, as that means she will remain as a senator in possibly the next six months. Good news because I kind of sentimentally thought her appointment means a big loss to the Philippine Senate. I have been a great supporter of this Ilonga, whose fiery speeches bring substance, color and laughter to an institution some of whose members are drab and pain-in-the-neck simpletons.

It’s good she’ll still be around as a trial judge in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona. Knowing her, she will speak her mind frankly, and brutally, too, on the issues that will be brought against the CJ. If she will vote to impeach the CJ, it will be as a matter of her conscience, and not to please the President, even as he had nominated her to the ICC.

Another thing, while in the Senate, she will continue to urge her fellow senators to pass the Reproductive Health bill, of which she is the author and co-sponsor.

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Little did Carina Gonato of Consolacion, Cebu know that she would be proclaimed national Maunlad winner of the 2011 Citi Microen-trepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Award. Carina used to peddle ready-made chicken lumpia sourced from a local market until she decided to develop her own recipe and sell it to neighbors and friends. Today, Nateck’s Chicken Lumpia makes an annual profit of P2.4 million, employs 43 workers, and currently delivers its products in Cebu, Negros, Masbate, Surigao, Samar, Zamboanga, Dipolog and even Metro Manila.

Funded by Citi Foundation, MOTY Awards was launched in 2002 as part of the celebrations for Citi’s 100th year in the Philippines. It recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs with assets of less than P1 million, who have achieved remarkable growth as indicated by employment generation, profits, sales turnover and other enterprise performance measures.

The awards program has two categories: the Masikap Award which recognizes individuals who have set up businesses that are now providing a reliable source of income for their families, and the Maunlad Award, that recognizes those who have expanded their businesses and are now providing employment to others outside the family circle.

This year’s national Masikap Award, given out last month, went to ready-to-wear manufacturer Corazon Bautista. Masikap awards were also given to Jocelyn de Guzman of San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija (manufacturer of slippers and sandals), Anastacio Postrero from Bantayan Island, Cebu (seaweed farming), and Danelito Castro of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte (herbal oil manufacturer and distributor).

Corazon Bautista is a simple seamstress from Taytay, Rizal. A small loan and lots of determination eventually led to her small RTW business, becoming one of today’s leading corporate-wear manufacturers with an annual sales of nearly P4 million. Corazon plans to expand her business beyond Metro Manila later go into export.

The national Maunlad Award went to Gonato, while the island-group winners were Natividad Gabriel of Taytay, Palawan (deep offshore fishing, red grouper culture, fried fish processing), John Cabillion of Estancia, Iloilo (seafood buying and selling, vehicles-for-hire and sarisari store owner), and Andresa Javines of General Santos City (manufacturer and supplier of tuna packing materials and gel ice).

Citi country officer Sanjiv Vohra said in his welcome remarks at this year’s awards program, ‘We received the most number of nominations in our nine-year history, from nearly 40 microfinance institutions, about a dozen of which submitted entries for the first time.”

During the launching in July of this year’s awards, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Amando Tetangco, the keynote speaker, said that in the process of conducting thorough evaluation of thousands of nominees to the awards, “we have witnessed many inspiring success stories of micro-entrepreneurs who became employers and catalysts for development in their respective communities. Not only have they become employers, many have mentored their former workers on how to access micro credit to start their own business.”

The Citi MOTY awards has two categories: the Masikap Awards, which recognizes individuals who have set up businesses that are now providing a reliable source of income for their families, and the Maunlad Awards, that recognizes those who have made their business grow, and are now providing employment to others outside of the family circle.

This year’s batch of Citi MOTY awardees is a testament to the winning formula of hard work, ingenuity, and micro financing. Like the winners, thousands of Filipinos have been able to seize unusual opportunities through microfinance.

Tetangco and Vohra served as co-chairpersons of the national selection committee that determined this year’s winners. The judges included Marixi Prieto, of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, GoNegosyo founder Joey Concepcion, and Ayala Land Inc. chair Fernando Zobel. Other national selection committee members were Prof D. Darwin Yu, former monetary board member Antonino Alindogan Jr., GMA Network chair Felipe Gozon, and Entrepreneurs School of Asia president Vivian Tan.

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Thinking of the perfect present to give to single moms, or dads, maybe? Give a copy of a handy volume, Happy Even After, A Single Mom’s Journal, a project of journalist and chic single mom Ana P. Santos. It is a collection of essays by Anna and friends who have either left, or had been left by, husbands, or decided to remain single — but who are blissfully happy as they raise their kids by themselves and pursue their own careers and interests. It also has blank pages for the reader on which to write her own thoughts. Special wrapping and delivery will be made up to December 23. Call Ana at 0917-8864862.

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For the past eight years, Frank Evaristo has served as president of the Alay Lakad Foundation (ALF), a non-profit organization that raises over P51 million a year for the benefit of out-of-school youths through its annual “walk for a cause” event. More than 500,000 people participate in the September walkathon, including cabinet secretaries, military officials, legislators and top businessmen. President Noynoy Aquino, who has known Frank for many years, is honorary chairman of the foundation. Frank will celebrate his 70th birthday this coming Saturday. He waxes poetic about his greatest source of inspiration — his five children Jun Jun, Carol, Amy, Carlo and Lorraine, and grandchildren Anton, Arsee, Angel and Allie. Frank will share his gratitude for blessings he has received, with a bash at the Rockwell Club in Makati City.

My e-mail: dominimt2000@yahoo.com

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