By Freddie Lazaro
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Ilocos Norte’s the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and Gender and Development (GAD) office recently cited and awarded this year’s model families at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, Laoag City.
Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba on Thursday stated that the model families received their award on September 28, 2018.
Barba congratulated the awardees and finalists saying, “We are proud of you, the overcomers, the victors, now triumphant over everything that threatened your families,” Barba said in his congratulatory message.
The search for model families in Ilocos Norte is an annual program for families who have successfully hurdled socio-economic difficulties and involved themselves in the community and are responsible in environmental and waste management.
The search has three categories: Professional, non-professional, and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“I would always pray to God that someday, I would share the same stage with my father. That we would share our great achievements with each other,” Mark Nhel Jerard Doren, youngest member of the winning OFW family shared.
“Today, after 20 long years, I am sharing the same stage with my father. It is really beautiful in His [God’s] time.”
His father, Nelson Doren, worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades to support the family.
The Dorens are from Pias Norte in Currimao.
Meanwhile, Geraldine Ortal, whose family topped the non-professional category, emphasized that “It’s not about the award. It’s about inspiring lives and giving back the glory to God. [My parents] courageously hurdled all the storms of life just to give us the education that they were not able to have.”
Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Ortal, from Barangay Baay, City of Batac, raised livestock, accepted carpentry and other jobs, to put three of their children through college.
Franklin is currently a member of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations in the Philippines, while his wife, Jacinta, is a barangay health worker.
“Let us continue to be model families, because our families are not only our treasures, but also our joy, our happiness, our enlargement, our expression, and even our next generation,” said Engineer Amelita Josol, a resident of Barangay Caraitan in Badoc, whose family topped the professional category.
“Each of your stories is a testament to the strength of the Ilocano: Defying the odds in the face of countless difficulties, challenges, and obstacles.” Barba told the awardees.
“You have maneuvered the dynamics of family even under stress, proving and living out the principle of dealing with problems and crises not individually, but as a family – as one unit.” (Freddie Lazaro)