[PHOTO AT LEFT - People Asia magazine honors 16 outstanding personalities during its “People of the Year” awards tonight at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.]

MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2010 (STAR) The list of awardees includes CNN Hero for 2009 Efren Peñaflorida; Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J., the longest-serving president of Ateneo de Manila University; presidential bets Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.; Charo Santos-Concio, the first woman president of the ABS-CBN network; multi-awarded broadcast journalist and GMA-7 vice president for news programs Jessica Soho; British Broadcasting Corp. news anchorman Rico Hizon; Rustan’s president Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco; the “first lady” of Taguig Kaye Tinga, who empowers the abused and marginalized female constituents of Taguig by pioneering a livelihood project; veteran newsman lawyer Emil Jurado; Mita Rufino, who has dedicated her life to bringing awareness to local culture and arts; Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera; Bernd Schneider, the former general manager of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel who is credited for reviving the hotel’s grandeur; internationally-recognized designer Inno Sotto, the Philippines’ “Prince of Fashion;” Nonito Donaire Jr., the World Boxing Association’s super flyweight champion; and Manny Pacquiao, the only boxer in history to win seven world titles in seven weight categories.

The awarding ceremony, to be emceed by Johnny Litton and Korina Sanchez, will feature performances by “popstar princess” Sarah Geronimo and the all-male singing group, The Angelos. The awards night will also coincide with the 10th anniversary of the magazine, which was founded by the late STAR founding chairman Max Soliven.

People Asia will also give special awards to modern-day heroes who surfaced during storm “Ondoy”: Quezon City Judge Ralph Lee, the “jetski judge;” and actors Jericho Rosales and Gerald Anderson, who risked their lives to rescue flood victims. People Asia posthumously honors Muelmar Magallanes, who gave his life saving dozens during the deluge.

Special awards will also go to the province of Camarines Sur, led by Gov. LRay Villafuerte as the “Top Destination of the Year;” Nivat Chantarachoti, general manager of Thai Airways; Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, whose programs have been helping uplift the lives of farmers; Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias Romero; Sarah Geronimo, who will be given special recognition for her achievements in the field of entertainment; and the Singapore Airlines A380, the “Oasis in the Sky.”

This by-invitation-only event is sponsored by Sofitel Philippine Plaza, HSBC Credit Card, Thai Airways, Nissan Patrol, Aboitiz Group of Companies, ICTSI, Dockers, PAGCOR, Ipanema Rider, Titania Wines and The Philippine STAR.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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