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Pinoy Abroad

BPI awards two outstanding overseas Filipinos

October 4, 2008 5:23pm
MANILA, Philippines - The Bank on the Philippine Islands (BPI) on Friday recognized the achievements of two successful Filipinos overseas.

BPI Director Zobel de Ayala and Labor Secretary Marianito Roque on Friday awarded the 2008 BPInoy Award for world-class Filipinos to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist Rico Hizon and New York-based fashion designer Josie Natori at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

"BPI is privileged to share and celebrate the success achieved by Overseas Filipinos who have truly demonstrated inherent Pinoy values," said BPI President Aurelio R. Montinola III in a statement.

"(These are) the same values that catapulted them to world renown bringing honor and recognition to our country," he said.

According to BPI, Hizon and Natori were selected as this year's BPInoy awardees for their excellence in their chosen careers and outstanding citizenship.

Hailed as one of 2006's Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) for International Journalism and Community Service, Hizon is the first Filipino broadcast journalist to work for global broadcasting networks BBC and CNBC Asia.

Singapore-based Hizon is currently the presenter for BBC's daily business and finance program Asia Business Report and an anchor for World Business Report.

He plays key roles in Singapore-based organizations Philippine Cultural Society, the Philippine Bayanihan Society, and Namfrel-Singapore chapter. His other advocacies include the promotion of Filipino artists in Singapore in tandem with his wife, Melannie Syquia, and the feel-good Filipino news website GoodNewsPilipinas.com.

"Receiving the BPInoy Award is a particularly significant recognition for me because I feel that my life's work has been acknowledged and my passion, validated," said Hizon in a press statement issued by BPInoy Awards.

"I am incredibly blessed that my work allows me to do what I love and I am very grateful to BPI for appreciating what I have accomplished," he said.

Meanwhile, former investment banker Natori celebrated her 30th year in 2007 as the CEO and founder of her million-dollar fashion empire based in New York involved in lingerie and other women's fashions, children's wear, and home furnishings.

Natori has been presented the Lakandula Award by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007 and the Galleon Award by Corazon Aquino in 1998. On Natori's initiative, a factory in the Philippines was set up to handle 50 percent of her company's production.

Natori also serves actively on the boards of the Asian Cultural Council, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, the Philippine American Foundation and Women In Need Organization.

According to Natori's mother, Angela Cruz, who received the award on her behalf, her daughter strongly believes that to be Pinoy is to be industrious, thrifty and loving.

"She is deeply committed to these values and the guidance they have offered and continue to offer in her life," she said.

On behalf of Hizon and Natori, BPI made a grant of P50,000 each to the awardees' chosen charities, namely, Munting Tahanan ng Nazareth and Asian Cultural Council.

According to BPI, the BPInoy Awards is an annual initiative that aims to encourage nationalism among Filipinos abroad and to communicate BPI's commitment to excellence in the service of overseas Filipinos.

Previous awardees of the three-year old program include the world-renowned musical theater artist Lea Salonga, US-based technology entrepreneur Diosdado "Dado" Banatao, internationally-known fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, and famous heart surgeon Dr. George Garcia of Asian Hospital & Medical Center.- Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV