Frontliners hailed at PeopleAsia awards

Alex Vergara - The Philippine Star
Frontliners hailed at PeopleAsia awards
PEOPLE OF THE YEAR AWARDEES: PeopleAsia magazine honors extraordinary people in extraordinary times. (Top, from left) Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Vice President Leni Robredo and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. (Second row) UP-PGH director Dr. Gerardo ‘Gap’ Legaspi, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chief finance officer Chaye Cabal Revilla and Pilipinas Shell president/ CEO Cesar Romero. (Third row) Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, iFern president/ CEO Tommanny Tan, AC Energy president/CEO Eric Francia and The Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Frontliners took center stage at PeopleAsia’s recent “People of the Year” 2021 virtual awards night, which was held live with over a hundred guests via Zoom and streamed to more than 230,000 viewers on Facebook.

The “People of the Year” awardees, led by special awardee for Public Service Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, trained the spotlight on frontliners battling the pandemic. She said her award belonged to many, “from donors to our volunteers, to our hardworking staff, whose service is really above and beyond.”

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero also cited frontliners. “I dedicate this award to our frontliners for their rigorous effort against the pandemic. Without a doubt, they are our true heroes,” he said.

Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi, director of the Philippine General Hospital, who delivered his speech from the “trenches of the PGH,” said his award also belonged to the “more than 4,500 employees of UP-PGH, who toil daily to solve the numerous problems of our patients.”

Eric Francia, president and CEO of AC Energy, also shared his award “with the extraordinary people of AC Energy and the entire Ayala Group, especially for the tremendous sacrifice and service of our many healthcare, economic and energy frontliners.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez received a Special Award for helping strike a difficult balance between lives and livelihood by adopting and implementing smart, responsive strategies for reopening the economy in the time of COVID-19. “My gratitude goes to our president, Rodrigo Duterte, for the inspiration to always give our best and sincere service to the Filipino people especially the marginalized sectors,” he said.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, a first-term mayor, was also hailed as the magazine’s People’s Choice awardee, for his office’s effective and sometimes unconventional approach in handling the health crisis.

“I know that there are other individuals, Filipinos, more deserving of this award. Nevertheless, I hope this award not only serves to recognize my efforts, but also serves as an inspiration for more leaders, particularly young leaders, in our country, to serve with honesty and excellence,” Sotto said.

‘People of the Year’

This year’s People of the Year awardees also include Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan, Pilipinas Shell president and CEO Cesar Romero, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chief finance officer and chief sustainability officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla, I-FERN president and CEO Tommanny Tan and Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.

HSBC, represented by CEO Graham FitzGerald, took home the “Bank of the Year” award while Alice Eduardo, president and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp., was named “Builder of the Year.”

In remarks delivered from Washington DC, Ambassador to the United States and PeopleAsia publisher, president and CEO (on leave) Jose Manuel Romualdez described this year’s awardees as “extraordinary individuals, who are making a positive change in the lives of people.”

PeopleAsia editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez summed up the night’s timely objective of sparking hope.

“In sparking hope we ignite light – light that we hope will brighten our days and nights. So tonight, you can look up at the skies and see not just a glimmer of hope but a constellation of hope. Behold it. Believe in it. Spark it,” Ramirez said.

Music & meaning

Even the musical numbers reflected the event’s theme.

Jasmine Fitzgerald led a heartwarming tribute to frontliners, as she performed “Hero,” while images of doctors, priests, nurses, volunteers and other essential workers – some of whom succumbed to the virus in the line of duty – flashed on screen. Singer Jon Joven also added a spark of entertainment to the show when he sang “Firework.”

The virtual show was capped off by a surprise number from two-time “People of the Year” awardee Gary Valenciano, who had the audience up on their feet as he brought them on a virtual journey through the decades with his own spin on a number of now-classic pop hits.


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