For the fifth year, the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society will recognize outstanding men and women in the community for their various contributions. The 5th Maharlika Awards will be held on January 31, 2015 with a recognition night and dinner to be held at the Hilton Metrotown Vancouver. Twenty-six individuals and organizations will receive the Maharlika prize, crowning their achievements in several fields.
The Leadership award will be given to Lorie Corcuera, Celyna Sia Sherts, Dominga Passmore, Irma Rodriguez, Eric Inigo, Francisco “jojo” Quimpo, Maria Lee Jetko, and Angela Berto. Awards for Community Service will be received by Cosme Malapitan, Richard Magtibay Abarquez, Anita Aytona, Dominica Bagunu, Rufino Olivar, Amado Mercado, Gloria Samosa, Megin Alavarez, Maria Nieves Greaves, and Aurelio Broge.
The Arts and Culture award will be handed to Ed Araquel, Eufrosina “Seny” Narciso, Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society, and the Zambales Dance Group composed of Merlina Fayusal, Rebecca delos Reyes, Clorenda Herdman, Angelina Balaong, and Carmelita Claudio.
To be awarded for Business Excellence are Beatriz Cabilin, Mike Gonzales, and Bienvenido Cruz.
To be received the Outstanding Filipino Association award is the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society.
The awardees were chosen after thorough deliberations of nominations received from the community. The selection was made through an independent panel chaired by Romeo Mercado, with members Laila Pires, Perla de Peralta, Salvacion Dayao, and Mike Calingo.
The nominations and selections committee is separate from the award- giving body, the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society.
The Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate Filipino culture and heritage.
The Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society is led by ReyFort Media Group chair Rey Fortaleza. The FCCHS board includes Socorro Laurel, who is the board secretary.
Referring to the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society, Mercado said: “Its mandate is to recognize Filipino Canadians in their field of achievements and excellence through the Maharlika Award. Its aspiration has been acknowledged by various levels of government as well as its goal of uplifting the visibility of the Filipino community.”
Mercado explained that the Maharlika Awards nominations and selection board begins its task by:
1. Creating a pool of applicants:Recipients are carefully selected and elected by the board ensuring that reviewed nomination papers are authentic. It is very critical to ensure that the nominees are qualified since some has outstanding work on their field, yet unknown within their sectors. The board gives more consideration and weight on the nominators’ recommendation especially coming from past recipients of the prestigious Maharlika Awards, as well as commendations from the prominent leaders of the community.
2. Nomination awareness: To avoid bias and conflict of interest among members of the committee and people behind their supporters, a publication mandate is continuously implemented. This is to ensure generating many eligible aspirants. The awareness invite nominations from other appropriate places and sectors. Increasing attentiveness of the award recognition has the side benefit of increasing interest in the event and making the selection process more wide-ranging and comprehensive. This also encourage other minority groups or establishments to make nominations.
3. Eligibility is based on established criteria: One of the significant factors in the process of eligibility is evaluating “ a nominee before reviewing nominations.” It is a criteria that the committee has to focus for deliberation and assessment to avoid the “criteria-shifting”. A letter of support and recommendation also add to nominees’ credentials, thus substantiating and enhancing the nominees’ eligibility. The Board also short-list a nominee, based on qualification and performance- achievements aligned to its field of excellence. This helps in the selection process more transparent and all-encompassing.
4. Selection of winners: The Board has the responsibility and commitment to ensure that each selected awardee has thoroughly passed the series of the eligibility process. Particular attention is focus in adhering to the Award guidelines. There is also the tedious deliberation among committee members based on the eligibility description written on the Maharlika worksheet forms. A Maharlika Award 2014 Worksheet for each nominee was envisioned by the Board for comparative agenda.
In recognition of her long years of service to the community, Brigida Natavio, 94 years old, will be the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award on January 31. Natavio will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, paving the way for similar awards in the coming years.
To avoid conflict of interest, the committee members are cleared of any connection they may have with a person under consideration for an award.
The selected final 26 awardees from different categories were the top nominees, carefully selected and elected by the board to receive the Maharlika Award 2014.