DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 September) – Three of six awardees honored by the Ateneo de Manila University during a Special Academic Convocation on Tuesday afternoon are Mindanawons: “Missionary and Peace-builder” Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD, the Archbishop of Cotabato; “Pioneer of neo-ethnic Filipino dance” Agnes Dakudao Locsin of Davao City; and “Champion of Marginalized Women” Teresa Banaynal Fernandez.
MindaNews earlier reported two Mindanawons among those being honored – Quevedo and Locsin – but Dean Tony La Vina of the Ateneo School of Government said Fernandez, although presently based in Cebu, is from Wao in Lanao del Sur.
Quevedo was conferred the Bukas Palad Award, Locsin the Gawad Tanghal ng Lahi award, and Fernandez the Ozanam award.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was conferred the Government Service award, mathematician and administrator Mari Jo P. Ruiz the Lux-in-Domino award; and Delbert Rice the Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan (posthumous) for his work as “missionary and champion of Indigenous Peoples.”
Quevedo, according to the citation, “has proven to be an authentic peace builder, especially between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao,” and has “consistently championed the rights of the poor and marginalized in society, regardless of their beliefs.”
He ‘truly embodies the Ignatian spirit of generosity and has greatly contributed to the creation of what Pope Francis calls a ‘culture of encounter,’ which the Pope says is the foundation of peace,” it added.
Locsin, cited as one of the country’s most progressive contemporary dance choreographers, “has created a body of work which proudly celebrates Filipino indigenous cultures, practices, beliefs, rituals and lore, contributing to our own appreciation of the complexity of our culture and identity.”
She has collaborated with musicians, visual artists and poets in the creation of her original choreographies, which include Encantada, La Revolucion Filipina, Sayaw, Sabel and the four-part Alay sa Puno series.
As a student at the Ateneo de Davao in the late 1970s, Locsin collaborated with artists Joey Ayala and Al Santos for the rock opera, “Sa Bundok ng Apo,” where she did the choreography for Santos’ lyrics and Ayala’s music. They would collaborate again in “Encantada.”
Locsin spent her elementary and high school years at the Philippine Women’s University in Davao City, finished her AB English at the Ateneo de Davao University, and earned her MA in Dance from the Ohio State University.
Fernandez, recipient of the Ozanam Award, co-founder and executive director of the Lihok Filipina Foundation is based in Cebu City but hails from Wao in Lanao del Sur. Fernandez “has dedicated thirty years of her life to protecting and empowering the city’s women and urban poor.”
“In the course of her original advocacy to provide financial, livelihood and educational opportunities to Cebu’s marginalized women, she also developed a community-based and multi-stakeholder program to stop domestic violence, which has now been replicated in many cities and municipalities all over the country,” the citation reads.
Her commitment to protect and uplift the lives of the weakest of our society “embodies the spirit of St .Frederick Ozanam, the great French Catholic leader who founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society for the relief of the poor.”
For justice and peace
“Of all the Filipino Bishops, it is safe to say that Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI is the one Bishop that Filipinos – of all faith traditions whether Christian, Muslim or belonging to an Indigenous Belief System – could be very proud of,” Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar said.
Gaspar noted that Quevedo’s life as an educator, pastor, peace advocate and now as Prince of the Roman Catholic Church “speaks volumes in terms of how faithful he has been to his calling as a follower of Jesus Christ who has exhorted his disciples to work for justice and peace and to care for the least of their sisters and brothers.”
He said Quevedo “has embraced the missiological challenges of being an ordained priest and missionary in a place like Mindanao with its unique context as a location for mission,” that God “sent him to a multi-cultural and multi-faith context struggling to deal with centuries-old conflict and faced with the shadow side of globalization.”
Quevedo’s elevation to Cardinal early this year is but a recognition of his role as “prophet, servant and friend to everyone. Privileged are those of us who have had the rare chance of being in his company,” added Gaspar.
Fr. Roberto Layson, head of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate’s Inter-Religious Dialogue, said this is a much-deserved award for Quevedo “for his untiring support to the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that hopefully will soon bring peace to this troubled land Mindanao.”
“Man of peace”
“He deserves it, especially on the issue of peace-making in Mindanao,” Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair said.
Froilyn Mendoza, aTeduray who co- founded the Téduray Lambangian Women’s Organization, Inc. (TLWOI) and a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that was tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, said it is “good to hear that a man of peace” was given the award.
Guiamel Alim, a member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium on Bangsamoro Civil Society said the Cardinal “deserves the prestigious award. May Almighty God continue His Blessings on him.”
Charlito “Kaloy” Manlupig, head of the Cagayan de Oro-based Balay Mindanaw, said his organization “joins the entire peacebuilders’ community in celebrating the recognition given to Orlando Cardinal Quevedo by the ADMU for his key role in the pursuit of justice, development and peace in Mindanao and in the country.”
“Truly Filipino, Distinctly Mindanawon”
Gaspar said that since her days as a student at the Ateneo de Davao, Locsin has consistently come up with a “body of choreography that is truly Filipino, but distinctly Mindanawon.”
“Having explored the dance stages of the world, she has returned to her roots in Davao and made it possible for the locals to enjoy what ordinarily is only available to the elite of Manila and foreign shores. She has gone full circle by being based where her roots are and in the process has also become a strong advocate to protect the environment. For after all, dance has always been directly interconnected with Mother Nature. And Ms. Locsin is a faithful daughter to her mother,” he said.
Malou Tiangco, a social worker, educator and performing artist, said Locsin has “the integrity and the consistent passion to produce, rediscover, reinvent, and find the good and never tried talents and artistry among Filipino Artists.”
For Tiangco, Locsin “does only present the beautiful and mystifying character of the ethnic life and culture, she made her work distinct, in art lingo, avant-garde, and highly peculiar because, Agnes Locsin’s masterpieces ingrain Agnes’ soul!”
Pidot Villocino, a salon owner who makes it a point to watch performances choreographed by Locsin, said Locsin’s award is “undoubtedly well-deserved” and “long-overdue, considering that Ms. Locsin has been in the forefront of ‘revolutionizing’ the classical art form by infusing ethno-cultural flavor in works for decades already and bringing it closer to the likes of us who are not and can not be considered members of the high-brow.”
“But a recognition like this is never, and will never be outdated as we should continue to honor and appreciate artists of Ms. Locsin’s caliber, who inspires us with her well-thought of productions that challenge us to be critical about issues and be aware and nurturing of our environment…And yet again, she is a league of her own, one tough act to follow! Bravo!!!!”
In the cusp of Philippine history
In his response, Quevedo said the award “reminds us all of our common mission to proclaim God’s Reign of salvation, of justice and peace, truth and love particularly for the poor and marginalized.” He said his own mission-focus as a priest and bishop has always been “ to proclaim God’s Reign, with its impelling call for social transformation.”
“We live in the cusp of Philippine history – when a just and lasting peace in southern Mindanao is in the final stages of realization. The mutual respect and understanding, the persistence, patience and wisdom of peace negotiators in the past thirty years are God’s gifts to the peace process,” he said, adding that when peace shall finally be realized, whatever contribution he has given to it and to the integral development of indigenous peoples and poor farmers “are God’s gifts, so that we may be in solidarity with one another.”
“Day by day, solidarity among us, peoples of different cultures and beliefs, must be built. Insightfully St. John Paul II has observed: ‘The fruit of Solidarity is Peace’,” Quevedo said.
Lavina, who attended the awarding rites, said Locsin offered a “unique response for her award, possibly the first ever to do that.” She presented “a ballet piece she choreographed, aptly entitled Mabini’s Lament.” (MindaNews)