Eleven exceptional QCitizens and institutions who brought honor and pride to the city and the nation received the prestigious 20th Manuel L. Quezon Gawad Parangal as part of the city’s 83rd Founding Anniversary.

With the theme, “Sama-samang Pagbangon sa Bagong Panahon,” this year’s Gawad Parangal recognizes individuals and organizations who exhibited excellence in their respective fields – empowering their fellow QCitizens and contributing to the development of the city.

Mayor Joy Belmonte and Vice Mayor Gian Sotto led the awarding ceremony which was held at the EVM Convention Center on Thursday night.

“Ang pagpupugay na ito ay hindi lamang pagkilala sa mga natatanging hiyas ng ating lahi. Sabi nga ni Presidente Quezon, ang inyong tagumpay ay hindi lamang tagumpay ng ating bayan, kundi maituturing na yaman ng diwa ng buong sangkatauhan. I dare say that the accomplishments that we are celebrating today are real treasures of the human spirit,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Among this year’s awardees are:

  • Former Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año for his tenacity as a retired general for the Philippine Army, as well as for being one of the leaders of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. He is also known for his leadership to suppress lawless violence during the Marawi Seige, and is credited for the neutralization of countless terrorists and communists.
  • Dr. J Prospero De Vera, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), for being an exemplary academician who championed quality education by mobilizing stakeholders to give the Filipino Youth broader opportunities. He is also one of the persons who lobbied for the enactment and implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education.
  • Ms Ana Rosa S. Almario, who currently serves as the Vice President of the Adarna House and School Director of Raya School, a progressive Elementary School in QC, for being a staunch advocate of progressive education, literature and of all things Filipino. Her passion to protect and perpetuate the Filipino language has become the iconic bridge that connects future generations to their rich cultural inheritance.
  • Ms Ditta Sandico-Ong, a visionary fashion designer who embraces sustainable and environmentally-friendly production processes that creatively transform indigenous fibers, such as banana, pineapple and abaca into fashion art forms, designing wraps that follow the movements of the body.
  • Mr Antonio Joselito Lambino II, Managing Director for Strategic Communications at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, for genuine and sincere public service that improved the country’s financial position thereby uplifting the quality of life of the Filipino people.
  • Ms Sonia Malasarte-Roco for her vigilant and tireless crusade to promote education, social, cultural and environmental causes. She co-founded “Our School,” a center for childhood education at the Ateneo Psychology Department. She also co-founded the Metro Manila Community Orchestra, a 50-piece community-based orchestra composed of young musicians whose age range is between 11-28 years old.
  • Ms Therese Clarence “Reese” Fernandez-Ruiz, a known advocate of an eco-ethical lifestyle. She is a Filipino social entrepreneur and President and Founding Partner of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise established in 2007 that empowers Quezon City-based artisans through fashion and home products that follow the principles of environmental and ethical production through which she has also helped to alleviate poverty in Payatas, Quezon City.
  • Mr. Alfredo Macam-Yao showed QCitizens how an entrepreneurial spirit can ignite a passion to build a business empire, but how it can just as easily rekindle hope in those who may feel weighed down by difficult circumstances. He is the founder of Zest-O, Macay Holdings, Inc. and Philippine Business Bank (PSE: PBB).
  • Mr. Danny Buenafe, the News Bureau Chief of ABS-CBN Europe and ABS-CBN Middle East, for his commitment to bringing the truth, professionalism, and journalistic ethics in this era of fake news and disiinformation. He uses his voice to keep the public informed, enlightened, and vigilant.
  • World Vision, the largest non-profit organization that is committed to protecting and caring for indigent and vulnerable Filipino children. In Quezon City, World Vision has a sponsorship program for 2,000 children in Barangay Sauyo. They provide school supplies and the other educational needs of these children. Aside from this, World Vision also has a partnership with the Quezon City Government for the Project Against Child Exploitation (Project ACE) that addresses the worst forms of child labor, including online sexual exploitation of children, and violations of acceptable conditions of work for children.
  • Estrel’s Caramel Cake, a cake shop that makes the most delectable desserts. It was established in Manila in 1946 by the late Estrella Ylagan. In the 70’s, it found a permanent home in Quezon City and since then they have been making homemade caramel cakes, which are among the best in the world.

Vice Mayor Gian Sotto also praised the awardees for “continuously reflecting God’s goodness through their acts of service.”

“To our esteemed awardees, I would like to commend you for reaching this far. The length and excellence of your service to the city makes you worthy of receiving this prestigious Manuel Luis Quezon Gawad Parangal,” the vice mayor said.