Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > Fukushima “Heroes”

Fukushima “Heroes”

2011 Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Awardees for Community and Social Service: The four Filipino caregivers working in Komine-en, Shirakawa City, (from left) Mercedes Joie G. Aquino, Sandra S. Otacan, Juliet C. Tobay and Gemma F. Juanay pose with Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez after receiving their Certificate of Appreciation from the Philippine Embassy in Japan during the celebration of Philippine Independence Day in June 2011.

2011 Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Awardees for Community and Social Service: The four Filipino caregivers working in Komine-en, Shirakawa City, (from left) Mercedes Joie G. Aquino, Sandra S. Otacan, Juliet C. Tobay and Gemma F. Juanay pose with Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez after receiving their Certificate of Appreciation from the Philippine Embassy in Japan during the celebration of Philippine Independence Day in June 2011.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez commended four Filipino caregivers working at the Social Welfare Juridical Seihoukai in Komine-en, Shirakawa City after they were chosen to receive the 2011 Bagong Bayani Award (New Heroes Award) for Community and Social Service by the Bagong Bayani Foundation in Manila, Philippines.

The Bagong Bayani Award (BBA) is a national search for the Philippines’ outstanding and exemplary Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The award seeks to recognize and pay tribute to OFWs for their significant efforts in fostering goodwill among peoples of the world, enhancing and promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker, and for greatly contributing to the socio-economic development of their communities and the Philippines as a whole.

The four Filipino caregivers are working in the institution for the elderly located in Fukushima Prefecture, some distance away from a no-go zone declared by the Japanese government as an aftermath of the East Japan Earthquake and the devastation wrought by the tsunami of March 11, 2011.

Despite imminent danger and risk of nuclear radiation, the four Filipino caregivers, Ms. Gemma F. Juanay, Ms. Juliet C. Tobay, Ms. Sandra S. Otacan and Ms. Mercedes Joie G. Aquino, chose to remain in their jobs and continued to provide care and companionship to their Japanese elderly patients.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO Tokyo) headed by Labour Attaché Clifford A. Paragua nominated the four caregivers for the 2011 Bagong Bayani Award after they manifested compassion and innate value that compelled them to even downplay significant personal risks to ensure the safety and survival of their patients.

The four Filipino caregivers were invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Japan Foreign Minister last May 11, 2011 at Iikura House in Tokyo. They were also bestowed recognition and honor by the Japanese people through the kind words and rewards that have been expressed and heartily given and the attention that local media has provided which serve as true testaments to their heroism.

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to give the Award to the four Filipino caregivers in fitting ceremonies at Malacañang Palace in Manila on December 1, 2011.