By Johnny C. Nunez
MANILA, Aug. 27 (PNA) — The Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc, (PAPI) honored the winners in its 2015 Search for The Outstanding Congressmen/women of the Philippines (TOCP) during its Midyear Convention at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City on Thursday.
PAPI president Louie T. Arriola said that based on the Searchs defined criteria and records of the House of Representatives, their TOCP Search panel had chosen only eight winners from among the many nominees even as it also decided to recognize four other House members with Special Honors Citations. Significantly, he added, majority of the chosen awardees were party-list representatives.
The TOCP awardees, in their alphabetical order, are Representatives , Gary Alejano of party-list Magdalo, Amado Bagatsing of Manilas 5th district, Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinans 2nd district, Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, Jonathan dela Cruz of party-list ABAKADA, Luzviminda Ilagan of party-list Gabriela, Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City, and Samuel Pagdilao of part-list ACT-CIS.
The four other House members to be conferred special honors citation for their sustained and consistent exemplary performances are House Deputy Speaker Giogidi B. Aggabao of Isabela, Congresswoman and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Pampanga, Rep. Gina Perez-de Venecia of Pangasinan and Rep. Emil L. Ong of Northern Samar.
Aggabao will be honored for his exemplary leadership and prolific legislative work performance despite your many other responsibilities as House Deputy Speaker; De Venecia and Ong, both previous TOCP awardees, for not sitting on their laurels; and Arroyo, for having filed the most number of bills despite her being on hospital arrest for some time now.
PAPI suspended the TOCP Search in last two years following the exposes of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) scams where some House members were implicated.
Arriola explained the TOCP Search aims to publicly recognize and honor deserving members of the lower chamber of Congress who have exemplarily discharged and performed their mandated duties, obligations and responsibilities in both quantitative and qualitative terms, and have contributed significantly and meaningfully to the promotion of the public welfare.
Under the Search mechanics, nominees may be submitted by any individual, organization or institution. The nominees are screened and evaluated by a TOCP Search Committee based on a set of quantitative and qualitative criteria, official records of the House of Representatives and public and private demeanor of the nominees.
The qualitative criteria include personal integrity, honesty and candor; sense of moral responsibility and fairness; statesmanship and leadership; initiative, creativity and responsiveness; quality of bills and resolutions filed; active and objective participation in public discourses on cogent and vital issues; initiatives designed to address Climate Change and environmental concerns; and substantive contribution to the peoples enlightenment and the public welfare.
The five-member TOCP Search panel, chaired by Tytana Colleges president and former UP Chancellor Dr. Jerry Cao, includes PAPI president Arriola, Dr. Met Palaypay of the environment advocacy groups Zero Waste Coalition and Mother Earth, National Press Club of the Philippines president Joel Egco and Philippines News Agency senior editor Faye Velasco. (PNA)