ORMOC CITY – This year’s “Garbo sa Ormoc” Awards, revived by the Gomez admin-istration after a hiatus of many years, includes an actress and an appellate justice, aside from an ambassador.

The awards include a new category — the “Dakbayanon Pasalamat” Awards — aimed at recognizing non-native Ormocan-ons who have contributed to the city’s progress and development. “Garbo sa Ormoc” or “Pride of Ormoc”, which is currently ad-ministered by the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation, awards Ormocanons for achieving out-standing feats and bringing pride to the city.

The awarding was held last October 20, at the City Stage, as part of the culminating activity of the city’s 70th Charter Day. This year’s awardees are ac-tress Carla Martinez (performing arts and theater); Ambassador Es-teban “Sunny Boy” Conejos who is also permanent representative to the World Trade Organization (public service); Associate Justice Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig (Public Service and Judiciary); wedding couturier Cecilio Abad (haute couture and fashion); Pompeii Nikolai Subingsubing who was No. 1 in the recent Mining En-gineering licensure exams; and Belazel Dave C. Varron, as the country’s top crossfit athlete.

The “Dakbayanon Pasala-mat” awards, on the other hand, went to Dr. Jaime Gatchalian Sr., originally from Pangasinan, who settled here more than 50 years ago and built Ormoc’s first hos-pital; and, Climaco Evangelista, who founded the first Lions Club here in the city which has since grown into eight service clubs. Special citations were also given to Ormocanons who did ex-traordinary achievements during the year. Among them were Coby Marcus Rivilla, Chloe Sophia Lau-rente, Martina Anela Estrella, all swimmers, for reaping gold med-als for Ormoc in various local and international swimfests. Edilberto Tulda Jr., Lito Cas-cara and Jerry Torres were named “Pawikan Awardees” for rescuing endangered green turtles that got snagged in fish corrals. Ormoc’s oldest centenarian Ambrosio A. Capin, 106 years old, was given a citation from Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte himself. Ormoc’s other centenarians were also given the same citations, but these were delivered to their homes. They are Gaudencia J. Cabahug, 101; Feliza J. Justo, 102; and, Demetria D. Cubico, 105. The “Garbo sa Ormoc” awards was initiated by the Or-moc Festival and Cultural Foun-dation in 2009. However, without the support of the Ormoc City Government, it was discontinued. In 2016, when Mayor Richard Gomez won, he asked the foundation to institute the awards again, to honor exemplary Ormocanons.

In his talk before Ormocanons, the mayor impressed that it was important that the good deeds and achievements of people should be recognized. Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, on the other hand, said the awards are meant to inspire Ormocanons to do good. “Who knows if one of you in the crowd will stand on this stage one day, to receive the “Garbo Sa Ormoc” award,” she said. Actress Carla Martinez said she was very much honored to receive the “Garbo sa Ormoc” award. After saying her “thank you’s”, the actress-singer then gifted her fellow Ormocanons her “Changes” repertoire. Carla is the daughter of the late Cong. Rudy Rivilla of Ormoc and the late Dinah Elzey. By Lalaine M. Jimenea



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