President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo handed out awards to all the recipients of the 2008 Banaag Awards in a special ceremony at Malacanang Palace last December 10, 2008.
The Banaag Award is a Presidential award given to Filipinos and foreign individuals or associations for advancing the cause of Filipino communities overseas or for supporting specific sectors or communities in the Philippines.
Among the winners is Mrs. Esperanza R. Derpo from Nigeria.
The awarding ceremony provided Mrs. Derpo an opportunity to speak to the President about the request of OFWs in Nigeria for the lifting of the total ban.
She said that the President assured her she will ‘take a look’ at the issue of the ban and might send Amb. Roy Cimatu to Nigeria to assess the security situation there.
Although, last December 13, Pres. Arroyo issued a pronouncement saying that the ban to Nigeria will still remain.
In a separate forum organized by the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), the Bureau of Immigration assured the Nigeria OFWs that those who have existing contracts or those resident of Nigeria already can freely come and go, as long as they show their resident IDs.
Mrs. Derpo is hopeful that this isa positive sign that the total ban to Nigeria will soon be lifted.
Accompanying her during the awarding ceremony were Mrs Veronica Bernas-Snoxell, daughter Maricar Derpo, and her in-laws.
Photos from the 2008 Banaag Awarding ceremony: