4th Ginebra Ako Awards honors organizations helping with COVID-19 response

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Ginebra Ako Awards' Awardees. Photo from Ginebra San Miguel

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Since 2018, Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI) has been paying tribute to a new breed of heroes, who have showed compassion amid trying times.

Now in its fourth year, the Ginebra Ako Awards continues its efforts to honor exemplary organizations and individuals who have shown malasakit and went beyond their call of duty to serve their countrymen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inspired by GSMI’s latest campaign “Tumitindi ang Bagong Tapang ng One Ginebra Nation,” the 4th Ginebra Ako Awards has acknowledged the efforts made by four organizations that have responded to the needs of communities severely affected by the pandemic.

First is the Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation. Formed by the Amorsolo children in 2003, the foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the first national artist by promoting his unique style and spreading his artistic vision, which is to immortalize Filipino culture through visual arts. This is achieved by building museums and conducting workshops in different areas.

The foundation is best known for its Bayanihan Art Workshop, which has gone online to reach out to people from all walks of life and help them battle depression and stress amid the pandemic.

Fernando Amorsolo Lazo, executive director of the Fernando Amorsolo Art Foundation, said the free workshop is a big thing for their students, especially persons with disability, since it helps them discover their skills.

A social enterprise also received recognition from the GSMI this year.

Married couple Ace and Andie Estrada helped local farmers sell their vegetables during the lockdown. This was made possible by forming the Rural Rising Philippines.

Rural Rising Philippines has launched an online platform where customers could purchase various types of crops and other produce in bulk from farmers in Baguio, Pangasinan, Aurora, and Zamboanga. The organization is also dedicated to harnessing the potential of the countryside and fostering rural prosperity through agri-entrepreneurship.

Nakakasakit ng loob na ‘yung nagpo-produce ng ating pagkain ay ‘yung most ignored sector ng society. As an ordinary person, parang ayaw mong may nakikitang nasasayang at ang daming nagugutom. ‘Yun ang nagtulak sa amin na magbuo nito,” Ace said.

[Translation: It hurts to see that those who produce our food are the most ignored in the society. As an ordinary person, you don't want to see anything wasted and many go hungry. These pushed us to form the organization.]

Another awardee is the Gawad Kalinga (GK) that is known for developing poor communities and building houses.

GK has launched the Barangay Walang Iwanan Program to promote bayanihan to help improve the lives of some 100,000 communities. Through its vast network of partners and volunteers, GK delivered assistance where and when it is needed, especially during the pandemic.

Sa Barangay Walang Iwanan, ang hangarin ay paano natin malo-localize ‘yung solutions. We hope to create this on-ground platform and connect them to online solidarity,” said GK executive director Dan Bercasio.

[Translation: Barangay Walang Iwanan aims to localize solutions.]

This year, GSMI forged a partnership with GK for the Barangay Walang Iwanan Program. Through the “Bagong Tapang Jersey and Cap Collection Promo,” GSMI gave consumers a platform to help out as part of the proceeds of every jersey or cap purchased go to the farmers in Sariaya, Quezon and fishermen in Barangay Bagumbayan, Pililla, Rizal.

The fourth recipient of the award is The Courage To Be Kind Foundation.

The foundation was established by doctors Glenda Canlas and George Canlas after their son Benjamin Canlas died at the age of 17. He was very dedicated to helping others. There was a time when Benjamin used his savings to have a food seller’s bike fixed. This was the inspiration behind the foundation.

As public transportation was very limited during the lockdown, many people had to walk for hours to get to their jobs. To help out, Benjamin’s parents gave away bikes to construction workers, security guards, and store clerks who struggled to get to work. They were nominated by their friends, family members, and co-workers.

“It was Ben’s passing that brought us to this mission. We came together to do something that would be significant in a time of a pandemic. Let’s be kind to people who are not seen. Kindness is possible. Kindness is the way forward for everyone,” said Dr. Glenda Canlas, founder of The Courage To Be Kind Foundation.

Through the initiative, Benjamin’s love for others has lived on.

Checkout the mini-documentary series about the awardees on CNN Philippines. The documentaries tell their stories of courage and compassion amid the health crisis. Each awardee received ₱25,000 and a trophy.