The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) congratulates Bernard Bonina, former Social Welfare Attaché in Malaysia, for receiving the Gawad Mabini, a presidential award, which was conferred on him by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 23, 2016 at the Bulwagang Apolinario Mabini, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Considered as the most prestigious recognition given to Filipino diplomats, the Gawad Mabini is conferred on Filipinos who have rendered distinguished service in the Philippine Foreign Service or have helped promote the interests and prestige of the Philippines abroad. The said award is named after the country’s first Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Apolinario Mabini.
Social Welfare Attache’ Bonina was nominated by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his exceptional performance, initiatives and exemplary service in safeguarding and protecting the welfare of the Filipinos in Malaysia particularly the victims of human trafficking and other undocumented and distressed overseas Filipinos.
He was bestowed the rank of Commander (Dakilang Kasugo), which is conferred upon an officer with a rank between career minister to Foreign Service Officer Class IV, or upon a personnel of a government agency who has served as an Attaché in a Foreign Service establishment, and who has rendered distinguished service or promoted the interest of the Republic of the Philippines.
Bonina joins former Gawad Mabini recipients namely Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo, Former Vice President Salvador H. Laurel, Former Senators Leticia Ramos Shahani and Mamintal Tamano. These distinguished diplomats were all recipients of the Gawad Mabini’s Grand Cross (Dakilang Kamanong) which is conferred upon a former or incumbent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Chief of Mission, Cabinet member, or other high official who headed a Philippine delegation to an important international conference on a ministerial level, and has made substantive contributions to public interest and public welfare through his/her service.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia also bestowed on Mr. Bonina three separate commendations/certificates of recognition for “outstanding performance, dedication and commitment to excellence as Social Welfare Attaché which exemplify the mission and vision of the Foreign Service abroad.”
As attaché in Malaysia, he was also one of the recipients of the “Pusong OFW Award” given by the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute for showing dedicated service in protecting and promoting the welfare of overseas Filipinos especially those in distress or emergency situations.
Other awardees of the Pusong OFW Award were high ranking officials from the government and non-government entities like Senator Cynthia Villar and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis.