Bacolod city honored four of her citizens with the Ang Banwahanon, the highest award it bestows on those who have brought honor or have helped in the growth of the city and her constituents. The awardees:
RETIRED JUDGE FRANKLIN J. DEMONTEVERDE
Founder and prime mover of the Negrense 200 Foundation, Inc., a philanthropic, social, cultural, educational and environmental organization that has helped countless poor but deserving students finish their education through its scholarships programs. The foundation has also initiated numerous environmental protection projects which include coastal preservation, tree planting, and mangrove development apart.
During his term as President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Negros Occidental Chapter (2001-2003), Franklin is mainly credited for starting a project of providing free legal aid to indigents through his Barangay Legal Outreach Program. These projects and his other outreach programs with the Freemasonry of Bacolod, has earned him the prestigious YMCA Centennial Leadership Award in Community Development in 2011 and the Most Outstanding Alumnus Award of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in 2012.
As a person of God, Franklin has always answered the call for justice, charity and common good. His Recollect charism of silent hard work and passion to help the poor without making it known has earned him loyal friends from all walks of life.
ARCHITECT ARMANDO B. GUEVARRA
Armando B. Guevarra, or “Manding” as he is known in the colorful world of the paint industry, is the architect behind the Negros Kabarkada Painters Association, Inc., a people’s organization of some 1,200 home, commercial and industrial painters of Bacolod City.
He provided them with free technical and vocational skills training and values formation program in partnership with TESDA and some leading educational institutions in Bacolod City. As a result, these empowered painters could tremendously increase their take-home pay thus allowing them to adequately support their families, improve their quality of life and rise above the poverty level.
NEPAKA’s success in alleviating the conditions of unskilled and low-income painters was replicated in other regions and the same poverty-reduction program for painters was duplicated in Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Samar, Cagayan De Oro, CARAGA and other parts of Mindanao.
Manding is also cited for his “We Care, We Share Program,” “Balik Eskwela Program,” “Tulong sa Brigada Eskwela” and his active partnership with Gawad Kalinga in providing shelter to homeless residents of Bacolod.
ATTY. SIMPLICIO A. PALANCA
Atty. Simplicio Palanca’s greatest contribution to the City of Bacolod is the 250-hectare port and reclamation project that he started in 1961 which not only altered the western skyline but also transformed the economic landscape of Bacolod by creating countless jobs and generated millions of pesos in tax revenues.
Ever the philanthropist, “Sammy” as he is known to friends, associates and family, has been giving scholarship grants to poor but deserving students. Many of his scholars have graduated from premier schools in Bacolod and are now gainfully employed. Indirectly, Atty. Palanca has been instrumental in uplifting the lives and economic well-being of the scholars and their families.
Atty. Palanca is instrumental in building the 7-storey Pilgrimage site, a landmark which will remind every Bacoleño that once a saint had stepped on the soil of Bacolod. The landmark stands at the area where the Saint celebrated the Holy Mass in 1983. This also earned him a Papal Award.
ENTREPRENEUR CONCHITA V. SICANGCO
Conchita Varela Sicangco or “Titang,” as she is fondly called by her friends, relatives, and colleagues in the restaurant industry, is an accomplished entrepreneur who founded the Bob’s Chain of Restaurants, a philanthropist, and an active religious lay leader whose countless contributions to the Bacolod community will always serve as an inspiration to many Bacoleños.
Titang’s greatest contribution is the preservation of Bacolod City’s cultural heritage in Culinary Arts having handed down from her mother, Lola Goyang Yulo’s generation the secret recipes of traditionally home cooked Ilonggo food. Lola Goyang’s delicious Ilonggo food is still served in all branches of the Bob’s restaurant chain.
Significantly, “Titang” has established an educational scholarship fund for poor but deserving students in the University of St. La Salle, St. Joseph High School, and Visayan Center for Hotel and Restaurant Services, Inc.*