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History of the Filipino of the Year award

/ 03:25 AM January 19, 2014

THE WHISTLE-BLOWERS (from left): Mary Ariene Baltazar, Merlina Suñas, Gertrudes Luy, Benhur Luy, Marina Sula and Simonette Briones ALANAH TORRALBA

MANILA, Philippines—The honor first went to chief vulcanologist Raymundo Punongbayan, since passed on, for his heroic and single-handed efforts to save lives and educate Filipinos during the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions.

Traditionally, the award is given to a living Filipino, but on two occasions, the Inquirer editors and assistant editors voted for a nonliving Filipino—Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004 and the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2012.

Filipino volunteers were also hailed as Filipino of the Year twice: Typhoon “Ondoy” volunteers and donors were cited as Filipino of the Year for 2009 while volunteers who helped victims of Typhoon “Sendong” made it in 2011.

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Other Filipino of the Year honorees are Haydee Yorac (1992), Juan Flavier (1993), overseas Filipino workers (1994); The Filipino Everyman—Juan and Juana dela Cruz (1995), Fidel V. Ramos (1996), Corazon Aquino and Jaime Cardinal Sin (1997), Joseph Estrada (1998), Corazon Aquino (1999), Chief Justice Hilario Davide (2000), Supreme Court Justices (2001), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2002), Manny Pacquiao (2003), Southeast Asian Games Filipino athletes (2005), Antonio Meloto (2006), Gov. Ed Panlilio (2007), Manny Pacquiao (2008) and President Aquino (2010).

Corazon Aquino and Pacquiao, having been voted twice, are in the Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year hall of fame.

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TAGS: Fernando Poe Jr., Filipino of the Year, Filipino volunteers, Jesse Robredo, Mt. Pinatubo eruptions, Raymundo Punongbayan
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