The Ateneo de Davao University through the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), organized the first Bergoglio Awards which recognized the outstanding contribution of different institutions to the promotion of the common good through social justice especially for the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the excluded.

Named after Jorge Mario Bergoglio commonly referred to as Pope Francis, the awards honors the Pope, who has been characterized by humility and outspoken support of the world’s poor and marginalized people. He has also been involved actively in areas of political diplomacy, inter-religious dialogue and environmental advocacy.

Speaking at the Finster Auditorium last March 20, UCEAC Chairperson Atty. Romeo Cabarde, Jr. said he would  like to take the Bergoglio Awards as a platform to pay tribute to one person who inspired us all to be men and women for others.

“Our work is not about us, it is not about the council, it is never about the University. It has always been about the people in the margins,” Cabarde added.

UCEAC awarded four institutions for the Excellence in Peacebuilding, Environmental Stewardship, Gender Equality and Human Rights, and Good Governance.

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) received the Award of Excellence in Peacebuilding.

IID is a Philippines-based advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization, and people-to-people solidarity. They also conduct policy advocacy and campaign programs on Burma, Mindanao, Southern Thailand, West Papua (Indonesia), and East Timor.

IID Executive Director Augusto Miclat expressed the award not only affirms their mission, but it also inspires them to continue with their work with much dedication and passion.

Interface Development Interventions Executive Director Chinkie Peliño-Golle receives the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Award from Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora SJ. Photo by Aivy Rose Villarba.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) received the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Award.  IDIS is an environmental non-government organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Davao’s watersheds.

IDIS committed to respond to the different environmental challenges particularly in ensuring the protection and sustainable management of watersheds.

“We are doing environmental advocacy because we want all of us to continue to drink clean and potable water… to continue to live,” IDIS Executive Director Chinkie Peliño-Golle said in her acceptance speech.

Talikala received the Excellence in Gender Equality and Human Rights Award.

Talikala is an nongovernmental organization run by women for women, which offers support, advice, training, and counselling to women and girls who have been forced into sex trade.

“The award will embolden and inspire us in our advocacy to free prostituted women and children from bondage and exploitation. To pursue their dreams to a humane life, not to be scared, scarred and scorned,” Talikala Executive Director Jeanette Ampog said.

Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD) of the City Mayor’s Office  received the Award of Excellence in Good Governance.

The IGDD is a monitoring and coordinating body under the Davao City Mayor’s Office whose role is only to forward concerns to other departments such as the social welfare, city health, among others. They also hold forums and educational discussions to the urban poor communities in the city to educate women on their rights.

“With this award we are challenged to continue our advocacy and push gender equality at all times and at all cost. To live by example and use gender and development as a way of life,” IGDD Officer-in-Charge Lorna Mandin said in her acceptance speech.

Meanwhile, nobody qualified for the Award of Excellence in Wealth Creation this year. However, UCEAC is hopeful they will be able to recognize those who contribute significantly to alleviation of poverty in Davao and Mindanao’s poorest communities in the years to come.

University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ congratulated all of the awardees.

“In recalling the Bergoglio that eventually became the Pope,  UCEAC insists that you do not have to be a Pope to have the social sensitivity and commitment to the excluded,” Tabora said.

“In honoring Jorge Bergoglio as we honor you, let us beg for the grace [to] have a human heart for human beings – as we return to the joy of God’s Good News, commit ourselves to the care of our common home, and return to the joy of loving in our families and communities,” he ended.

For more photos during the Bergoglio Awards, visit the Ateneo de Davao University Gallery.