From his wheel chair, Rex Bernardo of Daet, Camarines Norte and his family was recognized as one of seven Exemplary Families at the 3rd Jollibee Family Values Awards for making a difference in other’s lives.
“I feel very much blessed by the Lord,” shared Bernardo who chose to use his physical disability as a motivation to succeed, and in doing so, carried over the same attitude to his wife Marissa and son Rexmar Christian.
While in college, Bernardo started a group called Codes (or Concerned Disabled Students) to make their school more accessible for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), via a curriculum that accommodates their special needs. He has continued this advocacy for PWDs even as a family man, and has since achieved so much more what with his wife and son supporting him now.
In 2010, Bernardo lobbied for the establishment of the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in their hometown of Camarines Norte, which saw fruition two years later.
This year, he is working with an NGO to provide underprivileged PWDs with 40 customized wheelchairs.
Moreover, the family of three is actively involved as Gawad Kalinga volunteers, participating in such projects such as the “Time to Share” program that aids some 700 students in various needs.
Bernardo’s wife Marissa also heads their local parish’s social ministry group and leads regular feeding programs for homeless children and elderly people in their community; while Rexmar, as a student council officer, is a driving force among his peers to make a difference in society. In 2012, for example, he and his father organized the Jesse Robredo Youth Leadership Seminar, which benefited 200 student leaders.
The Bernardos and four other families were awarded at the Gabi ng Parangal para sa Pamilyang Pilipino at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas, Pasig City recently.
Their fellow awardees included Danilo and Jacqueline Rayo and family of Sta. Ana, Manila; Jose and Gloria Supanga and family of Camarines Sur; Drs. Egidio and Thelma Elio and family of Antique; and Anton and Marie Joyce Lim and family of Zamboanga City.
The Duque family who is now based in the United Kingdom was also chosen as the first recipient of the Global Pinoy Family of the Year award. Co-presented with Coca-Cola, this recognition pays tribute to Filipino families who have family members or the entire family living overseas, and yet still manages to work together toward meaningful pursuits for the benefit of others.
Moved by the various stories of generosity by Filipinos abroad, the Jollibee Family Values Awards also decided to bestow a Special Citation for Cirilo and Vilma Carmona and family, whose members are based in Spain, Bahrain and the United States, as well as in Laguna. Despite their distances, they still work together to help indigents in their hometown of Oriental Mindoro.
The five winning families from the Philippines and the recipient of the Global Pinoy Family award each received a cash prize of P100,000 tax-free, a trophy designed by renowned brass sculptor Michael Cacnio, a 32” Sony Bravia LCD TV, and Jollibee gift certificates and Jollibee Padala Vouchers. The recipient of the Special Citation took home a plaque of recognition, P35,000 in cash, and Jollibee Padala vouchers worth P5,000.
“Year after year, the JFVA continues to show us that our cherished values are alive in many Filipino families, wherever in the world they may be,” said Jollibee Philippines president Joseph Tanbuntiong. “These families serve as an inspiration and reminder that all of us have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others. They also prove that values begin and are truly nurtured at home.”
This year’s Board of Judges was co-chaired by Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and Jollibee Group Foundation president Grace Tan Caktiong. They were joined by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Head Carmelita Dimzon; Jollibee vice president for Marketing Harvey Ong; Jollibee Foods Corporation Global HR head Theresa Jotie; ABS-CBN chaplain and chair of the Management Committee for Public Service Integration Fr. Tito Caluag, S.J.; broadcast journalist Karen Davila; parenting and relationship consultant Maribel Sison-Dionisio; inspirational speaker and corporate trainer Francis Kong; TV host Christine Jacob-Sandejas; and Coca-Cola Export Corporation’s director for Public Affairs and Communications Atty. Adel Tamano.