Israeli Medical Doctor Receives 2012 Philippine Presidential Award


Dr Gonen Award06 January 2012, Tel Aviv, Israel – An Israeli medical doctor received the 2012 Presidential Award "Kaanib ng Bayan" at Malacanang Palace on 5 December 2012.

"Dr. Gonen Haba, a medical doctor by profession, has been a loyal friend for many years of the Filipino Community in Israel and the Philippine Embassy. He regularly conducts free medical missions, clinics, seminars and other forms of assistance for Filipinos working and living in Israel. He is truly a big help to the community by offering his services in a country where medical services are being availed of at a very high cost. His dedication to his field of practice, commitment and generosity makes him a very valuable partner of the Embassy in promoting the welfare of Filipinos in Israel," Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge said.

When the call for nominations for the Presidential Award was made and disseminated to the public, the Embassy immediately put up an Awards Committee composed of selected officials of the Embassy including the three Israeli Honorary Consular Officers from Haifa-Northern Israel, Jerusalem and Ashdod-Southern Israel.

Documentary requirements, testimonials, awards, recognitions and citations from the Filipino community regarding Dr. Gonen's work were consolidated and submitted to the committee. A live interview via phone was conducted during one of the sessions of the committee where the Honorary Consuls requested Dr. Gonen to sum up his accomplishments and activities that benefited the Filipino Community in Israel. Satisfied with the submitted requirements, the Embassy endorsed his nomination to the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), an agency directly under the supervision of the Office of the President.

The criteria for the Kaanib ng Bayan Award are as follows: (1) Outstanding or significant service or contribution to benefit the Filipino people or nation as a whole, to a particular sector/region in the Philippines or Filipino community overseas; (2) The success or impact or effectiveness of the contribution, which could be in the form of personal/professional service, financial or material contribution, or technology that has proven to be useful; (3) Resourcefulness and initiative in tapping various sources to support development undertakings in the Philippines or Filipino community overseas; (4) Social consciousness in terms of manifesting strong community spirit, or leading or actively participating in projects or other activities for the common good; and (5) Dedication and commitment to pursuing activities to contribute to progress and development in the Philippines, or to the betterment of the sector/region in the Philippines or Filipino community overseas.

Dr. Gonen Haba passed the stringent criteria with flying colors.

"Dr. Gonen Haba is well-known to the Filipino Community in Israel for his compassion, wholesome attitude, patience and generosity to our workers who approached him for help. He extends his working time to tend to the needs of the sick to ease their difficulties. These endeared him to our kababayans including their families who are with them here in Israel. At all times, Dr. Haba puts priority to the interests of his Filipino patients and extends utmost service and assistance expected of him as medical practitioner," said one Filipino Community member who nominated him for the award.

The Kaanib ng Bayan Award is conferred on foreign individuals or organizations for their exceptional or significant contributions to Philippine reconstruction, progress, and development, or have significantly benefited a sector or community in the Philippines, or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino Communities. It also is one of the four Presidential Awards given every two years – the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas. The rest of the awards are the Banaag Awards, Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Award, and the Pamana ng Pilipino Award.

The first Israeli who has been bestowed this award is Mr. Simha Salpeter (2010), a former Israeli Defense Forces' Colonel who demonstrated his love for the Philippines and, to this day, continuously provides exceptional contributions to the welfare of the Filipino Community.

The Embassy hopes that there would be more Israelis who would be qualified and nominated to receive the award. —END—