• Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia were recognized for pioneering alternative learning centers
  • The ALCs serve over 2,500 Filipino children of undocumented migrant families in Sabah
  • The ALCs are run by volunteers from the Filipino community in Malaysia

Officials in the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia were recognized for establishing alternative learning centers (ALCs) for undocumented Filipino children in Sabah.

Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya, Embassy Attaché Atty. Norren Joy Calip, and Social Welfare Attaché Bernard Bonina received the Gawad Mabini for pioneering six ALCs being run by the Filipino community.

The Gawad Mabini is a foreign service award given to Filipinos “who have rendered distinguished service or promoted the interests of the Republic of the Philippines at home and abroad,” and is named after Apolinario Mabini who served as the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.

Through the work of the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia, around 2,5000 Filipino children of undocumented migrant families living in Sabah are able to receive basic education through the ALCs, which are run mostly by volunteers and receive funding through private donors and community-driven fundraising.

“Filipino children in Sabah are in a precarious situation, and our initiatives are mere first steps in a long journey, but we are hopeful that with the support of all stakeholders, we will be able to improve their lives through education, one child at a time,” Ambassador Malaya said in a statement, which was previously quoted by GMA News.

For their work, Ambassador Malaya was given the rank of Dakilang Kamanong [Grand Cross] while Embassy Attaché was granted the rank of Kasugo [Member]. Social Welfare Attaché Bonina, meanwhile, was awarded the rank of Dakilang Kasugo [Distinguished Member] in recognition for his work in helping Filipino victims of human trafficking.

President Benigno Aquino III and acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras gave out the awards during the celebration of the founding anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).