Surigao native bags presidential award for overseas Filipinos

BERN, Swizerland (MindaNews/ 21 Nov.) – A native of Surigao City in Mindanao is among the 25 overseas Filipinos and organizations chosen this year for their outstanding work and contributions abroad.

Maria Theresa Eviota, a resident of  Bern in the last 27 years, will receive an award in the Pamana ng Pilipino category which is given for exemplifying the Filipino’s talent and industry and bringing honor and recognition to the country through excellence and distinction in their work or profession.

Mrs. Eviota is cited as a housekeeper in the Swiss capital who served excellently in numerous foreign embassies and diplomatic residences and flourished as a community leader of the Samahang Pilipina Bern or SP Bern.

As SP Bern president for nearly 10 years, Eviota organized self-help trainings for Filipinas such as housekeeping, financial literacy and money management, and on gender issues and human rights.

She also led Filipinas in fundraising work for the victims of Haiyan and for the sans-papiers (migrants in Switzerland who lacked legal and work papers), and in several charity and promotion events for Filipino cultural groups that were staged in Bern.

Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Denis Yap Lepatan, meanwhile, lauded Mrs. Eviota’s “willingness and commitment to serve the Filipino community in Switzerland” and for her advocacy to promote women’s rights.

In a congratulatory letter, Ambassador Lepatan said he was confident that Mrs. Eviota will continue to be “an exemplary model to the Filipino diaspora in Switzerland.”

The awardees come from 12 countries and territories abroad and will be honored by president Rodrigo Duterte in ceremonies on December 5 in Malacanang.

The Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas were started in 1991 under President Corazon Aquino and are organized every two years by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

It has 4 categories – Banaag, Pamana ng Pilipino, Lingkod sa Kapwa Filipino, and Kaanib ng Bayan, with up to 460 Filipino individuals and organizations awarded in the last 27 years. (MindaNews)