The Philippine Embassy in Vienna, led by Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad, honored 16 remarkable Filipino and Filipino-Austrian frontliners during the Dangal ng Pasugan (Honor of the Embassy; Ehren der Botschaft) awards ceremony on 28 August 2020 in Vienna.
The awardees, comprising medical healthcare workers, grocery clerks, and household and airport workers, have demonstrated their unwavering dedication and professionalism in the midst of the ongoing global health pandemic.
The Dangal ng Pasuguan awardees were nominated by members of the Filipino community and/or their Austrian employers after bearing witness to “their courage and dedication in heeding the call to action during an unprecedented and continuing global crisis.”
The hour-long ceremony, which was attended by approximately by eighty individuals from both Austrian federal and local government, including high-ranking officials from the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs), as well as the private sector, media, and members of the Filipino community in Austria, featured messages from Ambassador Natividad, Mayor Michael Ludwig as delivered by his representative Mag. Marcus Schober, and Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Bita Rasoulian. Finally, as a heartfelt tribute to the frontliners, the Embassy Chorale serenaded the audience with their well-applauded rendition of the popular OPM hit Tuloy Pa Rin.
In her inspiring remarks, Ambassador Natividad said that the award pays tribute to “those whose quiet but determined acts help mitigate the extraordinary strain brought by the pandemic. People who are as humble as they are heroic. People whose unremitting zeal in the face of formidable odds compel us to confront our shared humanity. People who broaden our notions of how a hero looks like and where they should come from. People for whom the frontline is deservedly a place of honor.”
In her remakrs, Ambassador Rasoulian also lauded the selfless efforts of Filipino frontliners in Austria, particularly those working in the medical sector, and said that Filipinos enrich the Austrian culture and the Austrian society with their invaluable contribution.”
Rasoulian said her admiration for Filipino frontliners was drawn from her experience of their “kindness, warmth, extraordinary skill and professionalism” in Austria, as well as in the Philippines.
Over the course of the past decades, over 30,000 Filipinos have made their homes throughout Austria. The Ambassador’s appreciation for the valuable presence of Filipinos in Austria was echoed by Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna Franz Scharl, who, in his closing prayer, described frontliners and their families as a “blessing” to Austria and to the world.
The event was covered by Kronen Zeitung, Austria’s most widely-circulated newspaper, in their print and online editions. In response, Austrian netizens acknowledged the professionalism, dedication and caring attitude of Filipino healthcare workers. Their particular fondness for Filipino nurses affirmed Ambassador Natividad’s comments on the lasting legacy of the original generation of nurses who served throughout the country as part of the Philippine government’s bilateral agreement with Austria in the 1970s.
Natividad said that as the original frontliners approach their golden years, their successors will both carry on their tradition of exemplary service while underscoring the enduring place of Filipino healthcare workers in Austria.
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