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The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service of 2013 named

November 12, 2013 8:36pm
Nine exceptional women have been chosen to receive an award for making a positive impact on national development in their own capacity. The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award is presented by the TOWNS Foundation to outstanding Filipino women who have served as catalysts and role models in the economic, social and cultural fields. The nine awardees will join the ranks of past recipients, including Rosa Rosal, Zenaida Amador, Esperanza Cabral, Leticia Shahani, Lisa Macuja, Teresita Ang See, Nieves Confesor, Lilia de Lima and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

“The selection process for the 2013 awardees was very rigorous. Each nominees achievements and body of work were carefully examined and weighed against a strict criteria to establish their contribution to Philippine society. The Award places particular importance on how nominees have demonstrated courage, integrity, dedication, initiative and pioneering zeal in their work,” said Dr. Aura Matias, TOWNS Foundation Vice-President and 2013 Search Chairperson.  As new members of the TOWNS Foundation, this batch of awardees will work together on a significant project that will be beneficial to the country.

TOWNS Foundation Inc. is a national organization of dynamic and effective women who by their common shared activities help transform the lives of Filipinos. The TOWNS Awards are given every three years following a year-long nationwide search. Once selected, recipients are expected to continue their excellent work as leaders in their respective fields. Since its inception in 1974, TOWNS has cited 149 women.

The 2013 TOWNS Awardees
Leading this year’s honorees is Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe for her contribution to government service.  Since she was appointed chief executive officer in November 2010, Berberabe has changed the game at PAG-IBIG Fund by implementing innovative programs that made PAG-IBIG more accessible to more Filipinos, as well as instilling excellence, integrity and a service orientation among the bureaucracy. She received the CEO Excel Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in 2012.  In 2013, she became the first woman to receive the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in Asia Pacific Award from the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific. Berberabe was class salutatorian of the UP College of Law graduating class of 1999. She holds the distinction of being the first female instructor of Philosophy at the University of the Philippines.

Noraida Adang Abdullah Karim is this year’s awardee for social work. She is the deputy director for the Philippine Program of humanitarian organization Community and Family Services International (CFSI).  She serves concurrently as the project coordinator of the Food Assistance Project, a partnership between CFSI and the World Food Programme that serves around 400,000 internally displaced persons in conflict-affected areas of Central and Northern Mindanao.  Abdullah Karim is a strong and active voice for the uprooted populations in Mindanao, bridging diverse groups to work for common goals.  She is a leader in various local, national, regional and global networks. Abdullah Karim is a recipient of the 2007 Voices of Courage Award from the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in New York, and the 2007 Social Justice and Social Change Award from the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

Ani Karina Brown is a tri-athlete, trainer and race organizer. She is being recognized for raising the image of Filipino women worldwide, as well as her contribution to Philippine sports in general, and the development and popularization of triathlons in particular. Brown promotes sports among women and children as program manager of Pinay in Action Women Empowerment through Fitness Program, and the IronKids Association of the Philippines. Brown’s work has had a lasting influence on the booming health-and-fitness field. She is a three-time Philippine national triathlon champion, and previously held the Philippine Olympic distance triathlon record and the Philippine Ironman distance record. In 2008, she became the first Filipino to compete in the Ironman, the “gold standard” of all triathlons.  

Karen Davila will be presented the TOWNS Award for her contribution to broadcast journalism in the country. She is a popular reporter, correspondent, news anchor and producer who built a name for herself as an incorruptible voice in Philippine media. Her insightful reports have led to significant policy actions on the issues of corruption, juvenile justice and substance abuse. She has used her influence to help raise support for education, housing, autism and infant victims of Biliary Atresia. Davila is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, mentoring young Filipino achievers from different walks of life. She has gained local and international recognition for her exceptional work, including the 2005 Unicef Child Rights Award grand prize for the documentary “Batang Preso” and the 1999 award for Best Medical Report in the CNN World Report Competition for “Dangers of Compressor Diving.”

Rachelle Gerodias, the Philippines’ premier soprano and 2013 TOWNS awardee for the performing arts, is respected for her contribution to making the arts relevant to communities, as well as for her professionalism and high standards in artistry. She regularly performs to large audiences in the country and abroad, receiving high acclaim in Vienna, Sarajevo, Bosnia, Japan, Beijing, Bangkok and South Korea.  Gerodias is the only Filipina to have worked with the legendary opera diva Mirella Freni. She established the Rachelle Gerodias Music Foundation, Inc., which gives scholarships to talented musicians who cannot afford formal musical training.

Gemma Narisma will be presented the TOWNS Award for Atmospheric Science for her contribution to national understanding and relevant response to climate change. She has been working to refine climate models of the effects and risks to communities brought about by climate change; her work has been used by policymakers and national development planners in agriculture, oceanography, geological sciences and forestry in the design and implementation of effective climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction programs. In 2012, she was named Outstanding Young Scientist in Atmospheric Science by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

TOWNS awardee for social enterprise and education, Eleanor Pinugu, is the founder and executive director of the Mano Amiga Academy, a non-profit school that aims to uplift the lives of underprivileged families through education. To ensure the sustainability of the school, she put up Bistro 3846, a high-end cafeteria that donates 100% of its profits to Mano Amigo, as well as provides training and employment to the community. The Bistro 3846 currently enjoys a net profit of 30-37% a month, demonstrating the viability of social enterprises. Pinugu was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2012, and was a recipient of the Social Entreprenuership Star Award at the 2012 Asian Social Entrprise Summit in Korea.

Ma. Amihan Ramolete will be honored for her contribution to Philippine theater arts. Her work on puppetry and children’s theater education builds appreciation of Filipino and Asian cultures among today’s youth, instilling a love of theater and contributing to the advancement of the cultural sector. She has represented the country in international theater and puppet festivals and conferences. She is the company manager of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, and managing director of Dulaang UP. She also serves as artistic consultant of the Usbong Papet Baclayon in Bohol, and Philippine representative to the ASEAN Puppetry Association. She is the chairperson of the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts at UP Diliman.  Ramolete is a Doctor of Philosophy in Filipino Psychology.

UP professor Maricor Soriano is this year’s recipient for applied physics. She specializes in applying color science, video and image processing to diverse disciplines such as marine ecology, museum and art studies, medical disease tracking and biomechanics. Soriano’s work involved the development of low-cost, easy-to-use tools and techniques for end-users in various settings. Her multidisciplinary projects attract students to pursue graduate studies in physics, engineering and health sciences, building a pool of future scientists who are inspired to develop solutions that will help the country. Soriano is president of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas. She received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology in 2006.

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