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SUN Awards honors 10 outstanding seniors

Argie C. Aguja - The Philippine Star
SUN Awards honors 10 outstanding seniors
The Coalition of Services of the Elderly fetes the Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda Awards winners.

MANILA, Philippines — Celebrating the accomplishments and significance of older persons in Filipino society, the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) honored 10 outstanding older persons during the 28th Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda (SUN) Awards recently. Here are the awardees:

Manuel “Ka Noli” Abinales, 70, of San Mateo, Rizal is an environmental advocate and promoter of community-based disaster risk reduction and management, and was instrumental in the closure of the Pintong Bukawe dumpsite in San Mateo. He founded Buklod Tao, a people’s organization that helps communities prepare for disasters.

Arturo Apora, 72, of Bulacan actively engages in increasing public awareness on HIV/AIDS since 1992 as a lecturer of the Positive Action Foundation Philippines Inc., going around clinics, communities and universities.  

Siagon Calatao, 106, of Malaptan, Saranggani has been visually impaired for 30 years now, yet she continues to teach the younger generation about key wisdoms of the Blaan culture.

Lydia Calipos, 71, of Bagong Silang, Caloocan dedicated most of her life as community organizer and health worker of Zone One Tondo Organization, going around the community to organize the urban poor since the ’70s. Her efforts led to the relocation of 800 Smokey Mountain families to better housing at Bagong Silang.

Carmen ‘Nanay Mameng’ Deunida, 90, of Malate, Manila is a familiar figure in street protests, fighting for the rights of the marginalized poor as chairperson of urban poor Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihang Nagkakaisa and one of the founding members of the AnakPawis Partylist.

Peter ‘Ka Pido’ Gonzales, 74, of Gumaca, Quezon is a human rights activist who dedicated his life to defend the rights of poor fishermen and protection of marine life since 1970 as leader of LAMBAT Quezon and PAMALAKAYA.

Junior “Bakleg Danyol” Macatunao, 78, of Malita, Davao Occidental is a Tagakaulo tribe elder who is dedicated to passing on important parts of the Tagakaulo culture to the younger generation.

Jeremiah Octavio, 81, of Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental is a teacher and catalyst for peace. He was instrumental in the donation of land, construction of an elementary and high school buildings and provision of solar and mechanical dryers that benefit 1,000 community members.

Sister Mary James Wilson, 85, of Quezon City established the Welcome House in Manila as the first crisis intervention center for women in the Philippines. She later founded Head Start, a preschool that gives free preparatory education for kids from low-income families in Payatas dumpsite.

Domiciano Ybañez, 79, of Alcoy, Cebu is a former public school teacher, agricultural appraiser and rural bank consultant who was instrumental in expanding government assistance like the Mutual Aid Assistance and the Centenarian Act in Alcoy municipality and Cebu province.

“We always say that older persons play a big part in nation-building but we seldom show our appreciation. The SUN Awards is our simple way of searching for these unsung heroes and honoring the services and efforts that they have shared in making our nation a better one,” said COSE executive director Emily Beridico.

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