Once a woman decides to put her heart and mind into anything, she can achieve a world of change. This is driving force for the continued search for The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award, which honored eight exceptional women who have contributed to nation building on Thursday night.
They are Cherrie De Erit Atilano for social development; Hidilyn Francisco Diaz for sports, Patricia Chanco Evangelista for media; Luisa Mercedes Paez Lorenzo for arts; Marissa Arlene Andres Martinez for government service; Aisa Alvarez Mijeno for social enterprise; Lou Sabrina Saavedra Ongkiko for education; and Jocelle Batapa Sigue for information and communications technology.
Sharing her thoughts at a media conference before the awards night, Filipina weightlifter Diaz said of the honor,
“The Olympics silver medal I won brought me here. To bring pride to the Philippines has always been my primary goal but to be a TOWNS awardee today, I am determined to do more—to share my knowledge with both women and children who want to engage themselves in sports. My success in Rio 2016 proved that we, women, can excel and compete internationally, even in a male-dominated sport.”
Elsa Payumo, TOWNS Foundation president related to The Sunday Times Magazine that as it is every three years, the selection for 2016 was both difficult and rigorous. “From 63 nominations nationwide, 16 persons qualified. And because our judges, headed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, a TOWNS awardee herself, were extra keen in screening the candidates, we ended up with these eight deserving ladies.” Lisbet K. Esmael