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Philippines honors ten ‘outstanding elderly’

For services to the community, ten elderly men and women were given recognition in Manila this week.

The “Ten Outstanding Elderly Awards” is an annual recognition of the “important, selfless contributions, and services” of older people in Philippine society.

Emily Berdico, executive director of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, said the award recognizes older people’s role in “making our nation a society for all ages.”

She said the organization envisions “an equitable society” for all ages where older persons “live in dignity, remain healthy, self-reliant, secure and free.”

Edward Gerlock, founder of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, noted that every elder person has contributed to “society that our young people are enjoying now.”

He said that while ten outstanding elderly persons are given recognition every year, “we must remember that all elderly, all older persons are outstanding.

“For the past 29 years, the coalition has honored ten outstanding Filipino elderly who came from “vulnerable and marginalized sectors” of society.

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Among those given the award this year is Edita Burgos, a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for her advocacy work for victims of enforced disappearances.

Burgos lost her son, Jonas, who was abducted and disappeared by suspected military men in 2007.

She said the recognition she received is also “a recognition that what we do is morally right.”The other award recipients are Fu Martha Ancheta, 70; Marietta Andrada, 70; Tomas Añonueva, 86; Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, 86; Edita Burgos, 75; Estelita Dy, 90; Nenita Gozaga, 78; Soning Guinang, 77; Emon Osana, 80; and Florencio Ramos, 83.

“We owe to them the society that we live in today,” said Gerlock as he urged younger generations to pay tribute and continue the legacy and service of older people.

The coalition has partnered with 850 organizations of older people and 65 federations of senior citizens across the country and has become instrumental in the establishment of the Confederation of Older Persons Associations of the Philippines in 2006.

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