Monday, November 10, 2008

Esperanza Derpo: Outstanding OFW in Nigeria

There is a saying that goes, “The best man for the job is a woman.”

We, OFWs in Nigeria, are pleased to inform all kababayans that our Barangay Nigeria Chairperson, Engr Esperanza Derpo has been chosen by the Presidential Commission on Filipinos Overseas as one of the recipients of the Banaag Award for the Year 2008 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas.

The Banaag Award is given to Filipinos and foreign individuals or associations for advancing the cause of Filipino communities overseas or for supporting specific sectors or communities in the Philippines.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will personally hand-out the awards in a special ceremony tentatively set on 09 December 2008 at the Malacanang Palace.

Barangay Chair Esper is now on her 4th consecutive year of leading the Philippine Community in Lagos, Nigeria.

Throughout her leadership, Chairman Esper (as she is fondly called here) has rallied the Filipinos in Lagos (living, vacationing, or just passing by Lagos) to come together and build a strong community in Nigeria. To date, the PBSN Filipino community is one of the most vibrant and cohesive communities of expatriates in Nigeria.

Chairman Esper has ushered a new type of Filipino community, a more close-knit and more active community. The PBSN clubhouse is the meeting place of Naija Pinoys every Sunday, and the place to-be every first sunday of the month for the Family Day gatherings. The ‘Family Day’ was a brainchild by Chairman Esper to strengthen the ties, not only among Filipinos, but also to other nationalities as well.

OFW association

The PBSN, in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy, was founded in 1973 to formalize an already existing organization of Filipinos residing in Nigeria. Its foundations lay on the ideals of uniting Filipinos all over the country in the spirit of nationalism and friendship, while fulfilling a social responsibility to the host nation, Nigeria.

Charity Projects

In 2005, the Filipino communities in Ikeja, Victoria Island/Ikoyi, and Apapa hosted three separate fund-raising events for the Dept of Labor and Employment (DOLE)/Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA)’s project: “Classroom Galing sa Mamayang Pilipino sa Abroad (CGMA). Its proceeds helped put up more classrooms in remote areas of the Philippines.

PBSN also donated the proceeds of its 2006 Independence Day celebration to mudslide survivors in Leyte.

To acknowledge the graciousness of the host country, PBSN has organized as its pet charity project the Kiri-Kiri Initiative. It adopted a primary school in Kiri-Kiri, Apapa, Lagos area and provided financial and educational support to the pupils. The PBSN is represented by Mrs Veronica Bernas-Snoxell on this project.

Philippine Representative

Small World International Event, Lagos.For three consecutive years since 2006, the PBSN has been warmly welcomed in the Small World Event, the biggest fund-raising event in Lagos organized by an international community of Lagos Joint Women’s Groups. Philippines/PBSN is among the 27 countries featured in this annual event in Lagos.

The PBSN also serves as an envoy of the Filipino community of Nigeria to visiting Philippine officials. It has received Esteban Conejos, Under-Secretaryfor Migrant Workers Affairs in his 2007 visit.

Recently, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and his team, who were invited by the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) for the Lagos Economic Summit, were also received by PBSN officers and members.
PBSN Chair Esper Derpo receiving a Plaque of Appreciation from Amb. Masaranga Umpa and Vice-Consul Randy Arquiza last 2007 Independence DayLast 2007, the Philippine Embassy through H.E. Ambassador Masaranga Umpa awarded the organization for its cause-oriented projects and active role in the betterment of Filipino communities in Nigeria. It has, likewise, recognized the remarkable leadership that PBSN Chairperson Esperanza Derpo has exhibited in the organization’s various endeavours.

Welfare to Members/Kababayans

Coordination with the Philippine Embassy for consular matters or for assistance to some distressed OFWs, is a service the organization offers, not only to its members, but to all OFWs who sought its aid. Throughout the years, the members are rendered aid for the death of an immediate family member. At times of financial need, a ’soft loan’ may also be acquired by a registered member.

 Sundays Videoke at Caverton ClubhouseIt is under Chairman Esper’s leadership that the Filipino community in Lagos acquired its permanent clubhouse, hosted at Caverton Helicopter Staff House in Ikeja, Lagos. Gracious OFWs donated billiard tables, dart boards and sing-along equipment. It is now the permanent gathering place every Sunday for Nigeria OFWs in Lagos.

After more than 20 years in Nigeria, the PBSN community has grown in numbers, and evolved into a hybrid of Nigerized Pinoys. Each year, it meets a widening scope of social responsibility unfazed. Despite the changing of the times, it has upheld the ideals it has been founded on.

Congratulations, once again, to Barangay Nigeria Chair Esperanza Derpo.

Mabuhay ang mga Naija (Nigeria) Pinoys (Filipinos)…

The Philippine Barangay Society in Nigeria (PBSN) - serving Nigeria OFWs since 1970’s.

By: Maynard Flores
PBSN Information Officer

Maria Carlota Derpo
Editor, 2008 Independence Day Souvenir

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