MANILA, March 25, 2004 (STAR) C’EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - The Cebu-based Philippine Foundation Inc has continued for the past 17 years to recognize and honor individuals who have become role models as valuable Filipinos.

This year’s recipients of the much coveted Perlas Awards 2004, held at the Theater One of SM City Cebu, included four well-respected and highly admired distinguished individuals who have excelled in their chosen profession and likewise demonstrated worthwhile values and traits, inspiring the members of the community to become involved in the name of unity, service and development.

Talented and bursting with great ideas Kenneth Cobonpue, a multi-awarded furniture designer and maker, was cited for his work in integrating locally sourced organic materials with innovative handmade production techniques offered as an alternative to the western definition of modern design. He was recently named an awardee of the Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines for the year 2003.

Amiable and devoted civic personality and always ready to be of service Lydia Ibañez has dedicated her life to the basic education of children with the establishment of the St. Benedict’s Childhood Education Center, which she has personally managed since 1967.Through the years, the school has produced competent graduates and successful leaders in their professional fields.

Medical doctor Eulogio Bonsukan, a resident of the United States, during his countless visits to his birthplace, has consistently provided free consultations, performed surgery without charge and given complimentary medicines to indigent patients. Now semi-retired but still active, he conducts much needed periodic trainings to young doctors and has donated the latest available on the market up-to-date medical equipment to various hospitals in the city.

Antonio Oposa Jr. pioneered the practice of environmental law in the country. A master of laws in environmental enforcement graduate of Harvard Law School, he established marine enforcement centers and youth camps that provide a network for bird and marine sanctuaries.

Two local and much appreciated organizations likewise received the prestigious award in the valuable institution category, namely the Cebu-Filipino Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade, founded in 1977 and composed of selfless courageous volunteers trained and equipped to respond to fire alarms and other related emergencies, and the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) a non-profit organization that has provided emergency medical and rescue services. It boasts modern facilities and equipment as well as skilled volunteers who find satisfaction in pursuing its vision of working for a safer community through a service oriented paramedic institution. The foundation is headed by its president Fr. Ernesto Javier SJ, ably assisted by vice presidents Efren Valiente and Marissa Fernan, together with secretaries Lourdes Jereza and Tess Chan, treasurers Michael Go and Elvira Luym, all accomplished movers and doers in their own world of unfaltering service to those in need.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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