Outstanding Filipinos honored at Washington, DC celebration

WASHINGTON DC – In celebration of the 117th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC honored outstanding Filipinos who made valuable contributions in raising the country’s profile in the United States.

This year’s theme highlights the efforts of the Philippines to improve the quality of life of Filipinos, even in the face of daunting challenges.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said, “We aim for a brighter 2016 guided by this year’s celebration — Independence 2015: Triumphs Through Reforms Within Nation’s Reach.”

Dr. Conrado Gempesaw is the first lay person to lead the second largest Catholic university in the US – St. Johns University in New York.

Cuisia presented Gempesaw with a plaque of achievement for promoting quality education for all and advocating for inclusiveness in higher learning.

Gempesaw said, “It’s been a terrific experience especially if you work in the Big Apple and St. Johns University, which is the second largest Catholic university in the country. I just consider it a privilege to lead a university of that stature.”

Rear Admiral Babette Bolivar was also recognized for her excellence and meritorious conduct in exercising military command, and for inspiring men and women in uniform.

She is the Filipino American with the highest naval commissioned officer ranking.

In 2014, Bolivar took command of the Joint Region Marianas in Guam.

The commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas said, “It’s kind of ah, icing on the cake to be a Filipino-American but it’s really anybody who gets to that level, I mean it’s a blessing, it’s an honor, you know you just work hard to get there and I just happen to be a Filipino-American.”

The Philippine Embassy says these honorees embody the bayanihan spirit and Filipino family values.

“You know my dad is a retired Navy chief and that’s what kind of brought me to the military, the navy. I just kind of want to be like him. It’s about family, it’s about people, it’s about loyalty,” she said.

The Philippine Independence Day reception held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Trade Center in Washington DC also celebrated the Philippine-US Friendship Day that is observed on the Fourth of July.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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