8 Datu Bago Awardees for 2015

THE DATU Bago Awardees Organization, Inc. through its chairman, Dr. Guillermo P. Torres Jr. with the concurrence of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announced the Datu Bago awardees for 2015.

The Datu Bago Award is the highest award that the Davao City government bestows on its constituents.
The awardees are recognized are recognized for their outstanding, exemplary and selfless contribution to the growth and development of Davao City through its greatest resources, its people, and for their invaluable contribution to the preservation of the Dabawenyo culture heritage.
The 45th Conferment of Datu Bago Awards 2015 will be one of the major events during the celebration of the 78th Araw ng Dabaw. It is set on March 14, 2015 at the Lantawan Hall, The Royal Mandaya Hotel.


FE BADA AROBO is cited for her work with the elderly thorugh her Home for the Aged in Biao Guianga, Tugbok. She is the founder and executive director of the Cares for the Elderly Foundation, Inc. She is actively involved in various community outreach projects, being the President of the Davao City Sta. Ana Lions Club. Being a social worker, a psychologist, a health care giver and a theologian has prepared her in her mission to care for the elderly.

She has attended various training and seminars to equip herself with the work of caring with the elderly. Her humanitarian work (medical missions, feeding and relief activities) have mostly been in coordination with the Lions Club International, she having been once a very active President of the Davao City Sta. Ana Lions Club. She has received various awards, here and abroad, and to name a few: Outstanding President Award of Lions Clubs Internationa; Ten Outstanding Member Award from Ugnayan ng Pilipinong Mangagawa sa Abroad; Honorary Adviser Award from the Asean World Music Museum in Chiang Hai, Thailand and others. In the words of Dr. Ruben Robillo: “Against all odds, mostly brought about by financial and cultural challenges, Mrs. Arobo, with her board and staff, steadfastly and passionately maintained the quality of care they give toward their rapidly increasingly elderly clientele…” at the Home for the Aged.


DARRELL DEAN BLATCHLEY is cited for his work as bone collector through his D’ Bone Collector Museum located at Bucana. The only museum of its kind in the entire Mindanao and the country. The museum has been labeled as the “Smithsonian of the Philippines” where collections of bones of animals (land, sea, air) are preserved as a way to appreciate Mother Earth and its creatures. His Bone Museum has become a tourist and educational hub of Davao City.

He is an American married to a Davaowena. His parents are missionaries assigned first in Thailand and then moved to Davao City. He learned to love Davao and its way of life. Many consider him to be more of a Davaoweno than most Davaowenos. The mere fact that he has learned to speak the vernacular like a true local is a proof of his affection and concern for Davao. His love for animals and the environment has led him to put up D’ Bone Collection Museum using his own resources without any support from private or government sectors. His aim is to educate the people especially the youth about the importance of animals in maintaining the ecosystem… that throwing our waste and garbage into the seas could kill a whale by ingesting a piece of plastic candy wrapper… He has become the unofficial (volunteer) “expert” or “consultant” of government agencies when there are animals (whales, sharks, crocodiles, dolphins, birds, etc) to be rescued.

His Museum, in a short span of three years has expanded tremendously and is recognized as a treasure hub for natural sciences. He himself does the tour/lecture in the Museum, So far some 20,000 tourists, visitors, students have visited the Museum. Aside from doing museum work, he volunteers as a rescuer with 911 and other volunteer rescue groups. He and his group were among the first to respond when typhoon Pablo and Yolanda hit the country. He is called upon by other museums in the country seeking his advice and help. Davao City is indeed, lucky to have a foreign-born Davaoweno doing the things he is doing here – all for the love of the environment “gratis et amore”.

He is also a contributor to the Mindanao Times, writing stories on environment protection and conservation.


AMELIA B. BONIFACIO is cited for her work in education and development. She was the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Women’s College of Davao City (where she also taught English, Nutrition and Biology) – bringing PWC of Davao City to its “golden era”. She was also connected with Davao Doctors Hospital as member of the Institutional Ethics Review Board. She gained international prominence (thus putting Davao and the Philippines in the world map) when she became the Project Director of the U.S. Peace Corps in the Philipines.

She took care of training young American volunteers in the areas of language, culture, local governance, public health management etc. in areas where the volunteers were fielded. Because of her vast experience in management and training, she founded and is the President and General Manager of the Associated Resources for Development (armdev).

The highlight of her career and life was her stint with the United Nations as High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) covering twenty years (20) and some forty (40) countries. She held various positions in Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Geneva, Nicaragua, Malaysia, etc. She travelled all over the world under the auspices of theUnited Nations in her capacity as trainor, facilitator, speaker, consultant and management expert.

Having lived and worked abroad where she has to center with the culture and traditions of some 40 countries, she has taken the best of her experiences back to Davao upon her retirement from her UN post and applied all these learnings back in her hometown, her beloved Davao where she focused on the upliftment of culture and life of Davao tribes (indigenous people); protect the human rights of patients based in local and global medical studies; extend community services among the poor; provide marketing assistance for homegrown Davao visual artists and came full circle as an educator (from classroom teacher to top executive).

While she may come across as a lady who is immaculately groomed, with a ready smile for everyone, unknown to many, she has established a personal fund to aid needy but deserving students. Her most recent philanthropic project is a classroom complete with amenities at the Imelda Elementary School in Mintal, Davao City. Indeed, she is a Davaoena whose contribution towards the betterment of lives transcends language and culture. Her experiences cover local, national and international frontiers finding solutions to problems that are realistic, endearing, holistic and sustainable.

4LYDA J. CANSON  is cited for her work in uplifting the status of women. She is a Davao icon who is often referred to as “the grandmother of women’s movement in Davao City.” She is one of those who initiated and practiced the strategy of “critical collaboration” between government and non-government organizations – that led to two landmark pieces of legislation – the Children’s Code of Davao City in 1995 and the Women Development’s Code in 1997 (in collaboration with women city councilors). She pioneered the advocacy of women’s rights, rights as human rights and organized WAR (Women against Rape). She was one of the founders of GABRIELA, which has now evolved into a major political party list in the House of Representatives, mandated to promote women’s welfare and women’s rights. In 1973, she worked with the Development of People’s Foundation (DPF) as nurse and sociologist and since then has moved to become the pillar of DPF promoting innovative approaches to health and gender mainstreaming thus, earning for Davao City its first “Galing Pook Award” (considered as the “Oscar Awards” of local government units). Her activism and outstanding leadership has led to the creation of broadbased social movements in Davao City such as the Bathaluman Crisis Center, Talikala, Inc., and others. She is also considered as the “mother” and great mentor of the award-winning Integrated Gender and Development Office under the Office of the City Mayor. Her life and her works are centered on the personal and the social dimensions. She is a nurse and a sociologist who heals through counseling and personal care; as teacher and trainor, she mentors countless women (and men); as activist and community organizer, she is an effective lobbyist for worthy causes doing critical collaborations with private and government sectors as a feminist, she elevated the status of women (and men) empowering them to live a more meaningful and productive lives.

5MAE CONCEPTION J. DOLENDO, M.D. Is cited for her outstanding work in Pediatric Oncology (children with cancer). She specializes in treating children with cancer especially the indigent children. She developed the first Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Center in Mindanao at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). She founded the House of Hope, a transient home at the SPMC, where children with cancer together with their parents stay for free during outpatient therapy, with clean and caring environment that resulted in significant increased survival rates of child cancer in Mindanao. She has placed Davao City in the Pediatric Oncology World map due to her international linkages.



RANDY H. HALASAN is cited for his dedication as a TEACHER assigned in the hinterland of Marilog District to teach at Pegalongan Elementary School, Barangay Malampas– a place devoid of electricity, transport service and other basic amenities. The daily sacrifice that he has to endure just to reach the place would discourage a lesser spirit.

In time, he has learned to love his pupils (who were hungry for food and education). He went beyond the classroom to also reach out to the community – teaching the people to plant and make their idle lands productive. With the agricultural technologies and help of Barangay officials, he organized the Pegalongan Farmers Association. For his untiring efforts in building the school and community, he was awarded “The Many Faces of the Teacher 2013” by Bato Balani Foundation and Diwa Learning System. A simple teacher who has become the “light” and the “bridge” of the tribal people to the outside world, he has made a big difference in touching and uplifting the lives of the Matigsalog tribe.

In 2014, Randy was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and for that received a Resolution of Commendation from the House of Representatives citing among others;

“To reach Pegalongan from the city takes Halasan seven (7) hours of travel – two (2) hours by bus, one (1) hour over extremely rough roads by motorcycle, four (4) hours walking and crossing of two (2) treacherous rivers….” And yet Randy braved all these for his love of teaching and his love for the children of Pegalongan.


JOHN RYAN LARGO is cited for his work and advocacy in saving the mountains of the world. Through his initiative in 2002, he organized the “Call to Save the Mountains,” a historic call that has become a global movement as it gained the support of the United Nations and the world leaders like the Dalai Lama of Tibet, President Bill Clinton of the USA, President Fidel V. Ramos of the Philippines and many others. He also initiated the “Call for Volunteerism towards Peace, Human Development and the Preservation of Mother Nature.”

He is the founder of the Human Development International (HDI) in 1990, a recognized NGO by the United Nations as it continues to make waves to this day all over the world with more than a hundred chapters. He continues his advocacy up to the present time focusing on the youth of Davao City. Even before the advent of communication technology (internet and computers) he has already been using the media (television and radio) as his vehicle for his various worthy causes. His efforts to save the Davao marine environment led him to join the Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary (PCGA) where he became the commander of Squadron 814th. He has definitely placed Davao City in the map of the world as he travelled world-wide to make known our majestic Mt. Apo as the model for his “Call to Save the Mountains,” “Call to Save the Davao Gulf” and the environment in general to mitigate the ill effects of climate change. He is an engineer, a media practitioner, an environmentalist and above all a teacher.


VIRGINIA S. MONTENEGRO, M.D is cited for having initiated the Cancer Detection Clinic (CADET) a project of Soroptimist International (SI) – Davao, in partnership with the PhiliPPINE Cancer Society and the Department of Health. The CADET gives free pap smear and breast cancer examination to indigent women. She also worked for the permanent center (SI building) of CADET along Jacinto St. She also pioneered the project called SALVA (Saving Lives Through Vaccination) to help generate lifelong immunity from cervical cancer (which kills twelve (12) women a day throughout the world.) To date, CADET and SALVA have benefited thousands of women in Davao City. CADET project was given an international award during the SI International Annual Convention in Ohio, USA, thus putting Davao City in the map of health care for women and young girls.

She continued to be actively involved in various humanitarian and socio-economic activities, projects and program for the poor. She was president of SI-Davao in 1993-1994 and continued to be an active officer and member. She spearheaded other laudable projects such as the “Kapihan ng mga Kababaihan ng Bayan (KKB),” a breakfast forum on issues on women, and the “Adopt-A-Barangay” project where the presence of SI-Davao is more felt and focused through comprehensive programs/projects for the poor.

As a medical practitioner, she is recognized to be one of Davao’s finest. Many times, going out of her comfort zone, she braved the heat and the rain to deliver free medical services to the poor people in the barangays of Davao City.


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