JORDANIAN NATIONAL GETS PRESTIGIOUS RIZAL AWARD
BAYOMBONG, NUEVA VIZCAYA, August 31, 2004 (STAR) By Gene Basilio Jr. , Northern Luzon Bureau - A Jordanian who was adopted as son of Nueva Vizcaya through a provincial board resolution last year has been conferred the Service Medal of Rizal during ceremonies held recently in Pasig City, Metro Manila.
Mahmoud Asfour, a 53-year-old philanthropist who is married to a Filipina here, also became a member of the Order of the Knights of Rizal after he manifested his admiration and respect for the national hero.
Carmelo Gempesaw, the order’s supreme commander, signed the award which cited Asfour for his outstanding services to the Filipinos by” immensely and generously contributing his resources, time, efforts and wisdom for the realization of various developmental projects and socio-civic undertakings.”
Gempesaw also acknowledged the legal, social and financial assistance given by Asfour to the many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East since 1971.
At the same time, he cited Asfour’s “unselfish and voluntary services to the cause of education, more particularly for his benevolence and generosity in providing a wholesome learning environment in some selected schools in Nueva Vizcaya.”
He is now building what is described as the country’s biggest Rizal shrine, standing 16 meters and which will tower over a seven-hectare mountain where he had constructed a center for cultural, livelihood, recreation, education, historical as well as medical services for free.
Asfour started the project, which he named the Rizal Livelihood Development Project (RLDP), last year and is expected to be completed in October this year.
According to him, he made the architectural design of the whole project.
Although he refused to elaborate on the funding, it will widely believed here that Alfour is spending millions of pesos for the project.
He said: “Our families are crumbling. Children are abandoned. Respect for parents is lost. The Filipino value of close family ties is gone while parents have to leave their children to work abroad.
“This is the reason why I want to help people in my province in the simplest way I can.”
His adoption as a Novo Vizcayano came in recognition of his charitable work like free hospitalization of poor people, construction as well as renovation of schools and installation of water wells and pumps, especially in the poor and remote barangays in the province.
Asfour is also sending 56 poor, but deserving students to school under his scholarship program.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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