By Danny O. Calleja
NAGA CITY, Sept. 14 - For Councilor David Casper Nathan Sergio of this prime Bicol city, his being a Person with Disability (PWD) does not make any difference. In fact, with his excellence in all his fields of endeavor more than persons without any physical impairment could do, he is considered here the busiest and most famed civil servant within his rank.
The Apolinario Mabini Awards, a biennial program of the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD) that honors PWDs who have excelled in their chosen careers, also noticed that and it is conferring Sergio this year an additional feather to his cap by honoring him as the Disabled Filipino of the Year.
In announcing recently the winners of the 26th Apolinario Mabini Awards, its committee chairperson Ambassador Cristina Ponce-Enrile said Sergio competently passed the standards of a Disabled Filipino who is never prevented by his physical impairment from serving his fellowmen and from becoming a role model to his community.
Sergio, currently the Executive Director of the Naga City Blood Program is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)–Camarines Sur Chapter and the local chairman of PwDs.
He had pursued programs on urban poor development and has established the Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO) which he headed for a decade. He has also extended his indefatigable vigor in enhancing the lives of other people while sending off a positive atmosphere of inspiration to a lot of his colleagues and constituents, particularly the youth.
In the city legislative council, Sergio pushed for the creation and establishment of the Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office (PDAO) which increased the assistance given to people with disabilities and paved the way for the approval of the city and barangay budget for people with disabilities and senior citizens.
Through that move, PWDs and senior citizens now enjoy one percent each of the budget– a feat which has never been done anywhere else in the Philippines.
Sergios dedication to public service, coupled with his persevering mind-set never escaped the attention of groups and establishments that recognize such traits as he had earned various national awards in the past as recognition of his unrelenting desire to make a difference and be of service to his people.
He was GMAs 1997 Public Servant of the Year and Dangal ng Bayan Awardee conferred by Kilosbayan Foundation, GMA 7 and Civil Service Commission respectively. He was also a recipient of the 2009 Philippine Eagles Outstanding Leadership Award given by The Fraternal Order of Eagles, Inc.
Also in 2009, Sergio was chosen as one of the two Bicol Region nominees to the 2009 Ten Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines (TOCP) Awards. He was also a Pamuntugan Golden Bell and a Gantimpala Agad awardee as cited by the local government unit (LGU) of Buhi, Camarines Sur and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) respectively.
Those overwhelming citations, Mrs. Ponce-Enrile said took Sergio to the 2011 Apolinario Mabini Awards as the Disabled Filipino of the Year.
Among the other individual awardees are Sister Ma.Paula Valeriana Baerts who bagged the much-coveted MABINI Presidential Award for her 59 years pioneering work to help disabled Filipinos, Lauro C. Purcil in recognition of PWD-rights based advocacy and Capt. Oscar P. Taleon (PN, Ret.) for exemplary leadership in PWD sector unification and ability to elicit cooperation from other advocates.
This years Awards Committee Members are Congresswoman Lani M. Revilla, Atty. Louise A. Marcos, Mayor Ma. Laarni L. Cayetano, Audrey Kay Tan Zubiri, Cynthia A. Villar, Kate H. Gordon, Milagros G. Drilon and Zeny R. Tanada.
A PFRD statement said Sergio and all the other awardees will continuously serve as an inspiration to the aspirations of the disabled sector. They will shine as torches of light in reminding their fellow that physical disability is too small an obstacle to achieve ones goal in life. (PNA)