• The rewards of being ‘doers’

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    THE unique partnership of personal care brand Rexona and online media site Rappler (R&R) became the newest venue to honor Filipino achievers who have shown remarkable courage to actively change and uplift society. Dubbed the “Do More Awards,” the notable recognition night was held at The Shangri-La Makati Hotel’s Rizal Ballroom on November 28.

    In adapting the “Do More Philosophy,” eight individuals took the initiative to go beyond their duties in eight different categories, and thus awarded in their respective fields. Their use of technology for the good also took center stage.

    “Times are scary, things are happening to test and destroy us. But old problems will get new solutions because of technology—and we are one of the most engaged communities in the world, so where do we find that common ground?” asked Rappler Founder and CEO Maria Ressa in her opening remarks.

    “Ideas and emotions spread to the third degree, and because of this, now is the best time to test our imagination. In a time of disruption there is no excuse to not do more,” she encouraged.

    Echoing Ressa’s remarks, Unilever vice president for personal care Gina Lorenzana said, “This [Do More Awards] is a celebration of doers to let everyone know that we can do well by doing good. For a company like ours to reach two billion lives all over the world, this is an opportunity to make a contact and change lives.”

    Nominations for the “Do More Awards” were held from August 6 to October 5. Over 200 nominees entries were received and from them, the 24 were pre-selected by a panel of judges, before they were presented to the public for online voting, which finally determined the circle of winners.

    The panel of judges comprised of Unilever head of PR for personal care, Apples Aberin; Senator Bam Aquino; Philippine Eco entrepreneur Jim Ayala; cultural advocate Carlos Celdran; Asean social entrepreneur Illac Diaz; investigative journalist MaritesVitug; and Rexona’s Do More believers Bianca Gonzalez and Phil Younghusband.

    The “Digital Trailblazer” award was given to Red Tani, founder of Filipino Freethinkers, an organization that advocates “free thought” in the Philippines. Its members organize informal weekly meetings to talk about current events and apply ideas that focus on reason, science and secularism as means to improve Filipino lives.
    Rolando Dela Cruz, president and CEO of the Darwin International School System in Bulacan, won “The Innovator” award for his vision to produce world-class students through a specialized curriculum, which he developed for primary and secondary levels. His curriculum includes humanities, foreign language, and personal development, as well as e-learning, and an honors program that he adapted from his studies abroad.

    “To be innovative is a dangerous thing in this country right now because it means risking resources, relationships, and life. We are in a crisis right now and we must dedicate good quality education to the children of this country who deserve the best,” Dela Cruz said as he accepted his award.

    The “Global Pinoy” award was given to Susan Ople for her work in the Blas Ople Policy Center for Overseas Filipino Workers; “The Challenger” award to Mimi Lucas for her bronze medal in the SEA Games; “The Artist” award to AG Sano, an arts and peace muralist; “The Luminary” to broadcaster and UNTV channel CEO Daniel Razon; “The Social Entrepreneurial” award to Mark Ruiz, co-founder and president Hapinoy; and the “Civic Hero” to Luis Oquinena, executive director of Gawad Kalinga.

    All awardees were given a cash prize of P50,000, which will then be turned over to their chosen charity.

    To end the night’s festivities, Sen. Bam Aquino addressed the guests, and lauded the awardees for being catalysts of change. “They’ve shown us what being Filipino is all about.” He expressed hope that the “Do More Awards” will become “a call to action for those who don’t do more.”

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