In a grand celebration of excellence and service, Ateneo de Manila University bestowed honors upon five remarkable individuals during this year's Traditional University Awards on December 7, 2023.
Pictured (from left to right): Dr. Maria Luz C. Vilches, VP for Higher Education; Mr. Rodolfo P. Ang, VP for Administration; Dr. Maria Victoria T. Cortez, VP for Human Resources; Senator Risa Hontiveros; Attorney Koronado Apuzen; Brother Armin Luistro, FSC; José Tence Ruiz; Maria Anna Ignacio; Father Roberto C. Yap, SJ; Dr. Benjamin Gerardo T. Tolosa Jr., VP for Mission Integration; and Father Joaquin Jose Mari C. Sumpaico III, SJ, Vice President for Basic Education. | Photo: Andrea Bautista
The prestigious awards ceremony, held annually, recognizes outstanding Filipinos whose lives and contributions align with the university's core values.
The honorees span diverse sectors of Filipino society, reflecting a commitment to making a positive impact on the nation. Atty. Koronado Apuzen, Hon. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Maria Anna Ignacio, Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, and José Tence Ruiz took center stage as exemplars of dedication, passion, and unwavering service.
The ceremony marked a special milestone, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Fr. Pedro Arrupe's influential "men for others" speech. University President Fr. Roberto C Yap SJ, in his opening remarks, emphasized how this year's awardees embodied Fr. Arrupe's vision.
"These are men and women who pursue their passion with an indefatigable spirit, bold courage, and a steadfast desire to help and uplift others," he remarked.
Atty. Koronado Apuzen, recipient of the Parangal Lingkod ng Sambayanan award, was lauded for his fifty years of tireless advocacy for indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, and agrarian reform.
His pivotal role in establishing FARMCOOP in 1995 showcased his commitment to empowering farmers through services such as organizational development, access to credit, and research and development.
Hon. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, a legislator and activist, received the Government Service Award for her exemplary contributions to women's rights, family welfare, and public health.
With 25 laws passed within her first term, she demonstrated an unyielding commitment to creating innovative policies for the common good.
The Ozanam Award, reserved for laymen or laywomen, was presented to Maria Anna "MeAn" Ignacio.
Her dedication to social and community development through various non-governmental organizations, focusing on areas such as housing, microfinance, livelihood development, and education, earned her this prestigious recognition.
Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, received the Bukas Palad Award for his transformative work in the education sector.
As a former DepEd secretary and president of the De La Salle University System, he has championed educational reforms and advocated for the poor and disadvantaged, embodying the Ignatian spirit of generosity.
The Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi recipient, José "Bogie" Tence Ruiz, an influential figure in Philippine contemporary art, was acknowledged for his fearless social commentary. A versatile artist known for his socio-realist perspective, Tence Ruiz has consistently used his craft to address pressing social and political issues.
In his response, Tence Ruiz reflected on five decades of artistic practice, emphasizing the importance of seeking truth and practicing patience in the pursuit of justice and equality.
Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, the sixth and final honoree, will receive his honorary degree in June next year, adding to the illustrious list of individuals recognized for their exceptional contributions to Filipino society.
The 2023 Traditional University Awards not only celebrated individual accomplishments but also reinforced the university's commitment to nurturing leaders and advocates who embody the Jesuit values of service, justice, and excellence.