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Three Women of Ateneo win The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award (TOWNS) 2010

The Ateneo de Manila University congratulates three Ateneo women who were recently honored as among the 11 recipients of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award (TOWNS) for the year 2010. They are:

Atty. Arlene Javellana Bag-ao (Ateneo Law, 1993; TOWNS 2010 for Alternative Law)

Atty. Bag-ao chose to be an alternative lawyer though it is not lucrative and is laden with challenges mostly against big names and influential figures in Philippine society.  She served as the lead counsel in the Sumilao farmers’ case, which resulted in the farmers’ winning back their land. By choosing to work at the grassroots level, she has helped in the promotion of policy reforms to benefit marginalized groups and thus, has given hope to the less educated, less sophisticated, and less protected people of the Philippines.  By providing paralegal training and legal clinics to the marginalized sectors of our society, she has effectively demystified the law and moved it away from the monopoly of leading lawyers and the formally educated. Atty. Bag-ao was a Hubert Humphrey Fellow through the Institute of International Education, Fulbright. For meeting the demands of faith, justice and love, and for generously delivering distinctive and continued service to poor and suffering, she was recognized with the Frederik Ozanam Award in 2008 by the Ateneo de Manila University. Presently, Atty. Bag-ao is the Akbayan Party List representative to the Philippine Congress.

Therese Clarence Arellano Chua Fernandez (BS Mgt, 2007; TOWNS 2010 for Social Entrepreneurship)

Ms. Reese Fernandez is the youngest awardee in the history of TOWNS. She is President of Rags2Riches, Inc, a social enterprise that transforms scrap materials into high-end designer lifestyle products. Through her leadership, she has ensured that Rags2Riches is also a Quality of Life Program which allows members to not just have an honest daily earning but also a holistic package of benefits that allows them to save and invest in health, education and housing. To further her advocacy, she established a cooperative for more sustainable operations.  This has transformed the lives of the community with a stable source of dignified livelihood.  In fact, her programs are now being replicated in other communities. In the process of providing a clear economic and environmental contribution to the country’s development, she has been able to put to good use about 700 tons of scrap.  This creativity has promoted a positive image of the Filipino’s ingenuity in the international scene.  She has reaped many awards for Rags2Riches as she, herself has been recognized by others.   She is among the Rolex Young Laureates for 2010-2011 as well as a recipient of the Paragon 100 Fellowship given by the Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Regina Hechanova Alampay (Assoc. Prof. & Executive Director, Ateneo CORD; TOWNS 2010 for Organizational Psychology)

Dr. Hechanova is an organizational psychologist who conducts studies on the psychology of the Filipino worker vis-à-vis the world of work in the Philippines. She holds a doctoral degree in Industrial Organization/Psychology from the Central Michigan University. She actively trains Filipino employers and managers as well as workers to help them become more realistic, adjusted and effective in the world of work.  Her research provides the scientific bases for provisions and practices in the industrial and corporate settings that are culturally relevant and globally competitive.  She has communicated her findings through scholarly as well as popular articles to emphasize that the Filipino experience of work is distinct from those in other countries, particularly those in the Western world. She has conceptualized, found resources – both human and financial, administered OFW on-line, which provides 24-hour online counseling for migrant workers and their families.  With her in this worthy endeavor are fully trained, degree holders who ensure that useful assistance to our OFW Filipinos are professionally delivered.

The awardees, from left to right: Arlene Bag-ao (alternative law), Kara David (journalism) Jean Enriquez (human rights), Gina Hechanova
(organizational psychology), Marissa Romero (science and technology), Myla Villanueva (ICT), Laura David (oceanography), Carmela Lapitan
(medicine), Stella Alabastro Quimbo (Heath economics), Marilen Ruiz (in behalf of Reese Fernandez, social entrepreneurship),
Gang Badoy (alternative education)

The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Award is presented by the TOWNS Foundation to outstanding Filipino women who have contributed positively to strengthening national capability and in shaping the nation’s future. TOWNS awardees also serve as catalysts for economic, social and cultural development by providing their time, talent and resources to government, business, media, the arts, the academe, sports and non-governmental organizations.

Atty. Bag-ao, Ms. Fernandez, and Dr. Hechanova join the roster of distinguished Ateneo women who have been accorded the same honor – Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno (ADMU, 1980; TOWNS 1998 for Law), Dr. Queena Lee-Chua (ADMU, 1987; Ateneo Math Prof; TOWNS 2001 for Education), Catherine Babao-Guballa (ADMU, 1986; TOWNS 2004 for Public Service), and Dr. Catherine P. Vistro-Yu (ADMU, 1984; Ateneo Math Prof; TOWNS 2007 for Mathematics Education).