“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, it is not rude,
it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no records of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres. Love never dies.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The Metrobank Foundation of mega-banker, exemplar awardee of Bulong Pulungan, George Ty is “searching” again! This time, after establishing the search for outstanding teachers, policemen and soldiers, the foundation, according to its super-efficient president, Aniceto “Chito’ Sobrepeña, is looking for three full-time journalists for their JOY or Journalists of the Year project.
An individual or organization can nominate an outstanding journalist who has been writing or broadcasting for 10 years, is full time, and has contributed to the community’s or the nation’s developmental efforts.
The three winners will be brought around the country by the foundation to speak before assemblies of students as exemplars of journalistic excellence. They will also be given a cash prize of P300,000 each and plaques designed by artist Angel Cacnio.
Nomination forms can be sourced from any Metrobank branch in the country. The search is with the cooperation of the Philippine Press Institute and the Probe Media Foundation.
Having personally experienced how thorough Nick Torres, Chito’s able assistant at the foundation, is at accepting nominees, I can be sure the “body of works” will undergo a screening process comparable to searching for cabinet members! After all, Chito was Cabinet Secretary in Tita Cory’s administration and Nick was in the Presidential Management staff.
Elsewhere, a group of us media girls asked UNA senatorial bet Richard “Dick” Gordon over an XO Filipino Heritage dinner: Why are you running again for the senate when you are doing a magnificent job as chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross?
The country being disaster prone, Dick’s passionate advocacy of helping others cope is just right for him – from rescuing hostages, flood and tsunami victims, earthquake, fire and violence victims, “Aksyon” Dick is there, leading his Red Cross staff and volunteers. No danger is too much for this fast-talking former mayor, senator, SBMA administrator, and tourism secretary. He revels in the statistics that show the Red Cross and enviable inventory of disaster and rescue equipment, rubber boats, fire-fighting equipment, ambulances, a functioning blood bank that is ISO certified, two water purifying units that can be brought anywhere in the country, tents, etc.
“Magaling akong manghingi,” Dick sheepishly says when asked where the equipment came from. “I know how to ask for these things for our suffering victims of calamities.” Besides, as someone in the group observed, it’s hard to resist “Aksyon” Dick when he makes up his mind (and heart) that what he is asking for will be beneficial in times of emergencies.
His work in the Red Cross was inspired by his own mother, Amelia Gordon who, during her lifetime, was an active Red Cross volunteer in Olongapo. He is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila with a degree of A.B. History (1966), and finished his Bachelor of Laws in 1975 at the U.P. College of Law.
He was elected Senator in 2004 after his stint as Secretary of Tourism from 2001 to 2004, during which time, he created a new image of the country under his “WoW Philippines” campaign.
Prior to 2004 he was the Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Virtually rising from the ashes after Mt. Pinatubo erupted and when the Americans left Subic base, Dick Gordon rallied his people in Olongapo and attracted bright young professionals to join him as volunteers to preserve what was left of the former military base and transform it into a vibrant free port. This was by no means an accident of history, as he had long envisioned the conversion of the base from purely military use to a civilian and commercial use, attracting investors, which saw the rapid development of the former naval base.
For these he was tagged as the “Flash Gordon of the Philippines” and was given several titles such as: “The Chairman of Subic,” “Shogun of Subic,” “Messiah of Subic,” “Sultan of Subic,” among others, by various international publications. For his outstanding performance in Subic, Asahi Shimbun recognized him as one of the “50 Young Leaders of Asia” in 1994. Asiaweek, in its 20th Anniversary issue, included him as one of the “20 Great Asians for the Future” while Japan’s NHK TV featured him as one of “Asia’s Who’s Who” in 1995.
Aksyon Dick was in the midst of the Red Cross volunteers kidnapping crisis. Up to the present, as he leads the Philippine Red Cross on his second term as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, he has brought the Philippine Red Cross to new heights never before seen in this country.
Among his accomplishments as a Senator were the passage of Republic Act No. 9369 or the Automated Elections System to obviate cheating and post election controversies and protests that hound Philippine elections:
Republic Act No. 9499 (Gordon's Veterans Bill). The Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008 amends Sections 10 and 11 of Republic Act No. 6948, as amended, by removing the prohibition against our veterans receiving benefits from the United States government.
He was the principal author of the National Tourism Policy Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9593, declaring a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment and employment, growth and national development that was signed into law on May 12, 2009.
In his term, Senator Gordon was also responsible for the passage of the following laws: Republic Act No. 9728 Creating the Freeport Area of Bataan that aims to revive the ailing Mariveles Special Economic Zone, the country’s first Ecozone, through the creation of a Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB);
Republic Act No. 9803 Food Donation Act that protects all persons against civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging or condition of apparently wholesome food (clean excess food, not leftovers) that it donates in good faith for charitable purposes.
Republic Act No. 9851 An Act Penalizing Violations of International Humanitarian Law that penalizes violations against international humanitarian law in compliance with the country’s treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
Republic Act No. 9903 SSS Condonation Law that allows a one-time condonation program from payment of penalties for an estimated 287,631 private employers (2007) who are delinquent in the payment of the mandatory contributions, translating to a total delinquency of P14.6 Billion;
Republic Act No. 10023 Extending Free Patent to Residential Lands that allows possessors of residential lands to have their land titled without need of a court decree, and reduces the possessory requirement from 30 years to just 10 years;
Republic Act No. 10072 Philippine Red Cross Act. Aimed at strengthening the ability of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to respond to humanitarian needs in times of armed conflicts, natural disasters, and other emergencies and Republic Act No. 10121 Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act that strengthens the Philippine disaster risk reduction and management system by providing for the national disaster risk reduction and management framework.
At present, multi-awarded Gordon is a broadcaster for News5, where he hosts “Aksyon Solusyon” with Alex Tinsay on Radyo5 92.3 News FM. Go, Dick, go!