RAFI Board Member Marian Aboitiz awards the Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Outstanding Institution to the Philippine Eagle Foundation, represented by Executive Director Dennis Salvador (left), and the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual to Dr.Benedict Edward Valdez at the 7th RAFI Triennial Awards last August 31.
RAFI Board Member Marian Aboitiz awards the Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Outstanding Institution to the Philippine Eagle Foundation, represented by Executive Director Dennis Salvador (left), and the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual to Dr.Benedict Edward Valdez at the 7th RAFI Triennial Awards last August 31.

Cover Story

Volunteer Doctor, Philippine Eagle Foundation win at RAFI Triennial Awards

Elisabeth Baumgart | Sept. 20, 2018

After months of careful screening and evaluation, two winners were finally recognized in the RAFI Triennial Awards for the Visayas and Mindanao. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) awarded Dr. Benedict Edward P. Valdez the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual and the Philippine Eagle Foundation the Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Outstanding Institution category for their outstanding and exemplary work in the country on August 31, 2018, in a public awarding ceremony.

A passionate and tireless volunteer, Dr. Valdez currently serves as the President of Maharlika Charity Foundation, Inc. in Davao City, where he previously served as Director of Missions. Under his leadership, he led over 100 medical-surgical missions and established three cleft referral centers.

Over the past 17 years, Dr. Valdez has brought back the smiles of children by offering free cleft palate operations and allowing them to live a life free from discrimination. He has operated on more than 1,500 children.

“With that particular operation, it can make a person very sociable as we ourselves are social beings,” said Dr. Valdez in his acceptance speech.

Aside from providing free cleft operations, Dr. Valdez was instrumental in the establishment of Davao’s 911 Emergency Medical System (EMS). A staunch supporter for establishing stronger pre-hospital care and trauma care mechanisms in the country, Dr. Valdez trains medical professionals in pre-hospital care and serves as Medical Director of Davao’s 911 EMS.

Dr. Valdez likewise serves as the Department Head for Emergency Medicine Department at the Southern Philippines Medical Center where he helped set-up the country’s biggest trauma center.

PEFIn another part of Davao, the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Inc. (PEF) works hard in the protection of the critically endangered Philippine Eagle and its habitat.

Established in 1987, the PEF has its own Philippine Eagle Center, a facility dedicated to the care, research, and propagation of the species. It likewise serves as a venue for education and tourism. The center is also home to other species such as eagles, owls, and other wildlife.

With just over 400 eagle pairs left in the country, PEF works hard in the conservation and protection of the Philippine Eagle. PEF has developed its own conservation breeding program, which is focused on increasing the eagles’ population through natural breeding methods and cooperative artificial insemination for malimprinted birds.

PEF has likewise developed its own community-based conservation initiatives working closely with local communities and tribes in the protection of 74,000 hectares of forest and watersheds. PEF works closely with 24 upland villages and organized over 700 local forest guards to watch over and protect eagle pairs and their natural habitats.

“This very important award inspires us to move forward and do more for our national bird and for the country,” said Jason Ibañez, director for Research and Conservation of PEF.

rafi triennial awards 1

RAFI likewise recognized eight (8) other finalists to the RAFI Triennial Awards.

Finalists for the Exemplary Individual Category were:

• Dr. Roel Z. Cagape (Sarangani Province)
• Sarah P. Cubar (Davao del Norte)
• Norlan P. Pagal (Cebu)
• Mateo S. Quilas (Province of Bohol)

While finalists for the Outstanding Institution Category were:

• Community-Based Health Program Diocese of Ipil (Zamboanga Sibugay)
• Negrense Volunteers for Change, Inc. (Negros Occidental)
• Participatory Research, Organization of Communities and Education towards Struggle for Self-reliance (PROCESS-Bohol, Inc.) (Province of Bohol)
• Tuburan for Rural Women Empowerment and Development, Inc. (Negros Oriental)

The RAFI Triennial Awards gives recognition to individuals and institutions who committed themselves to building a more humane, equitable, and caring society. The awards honor the men and women who, through their efforts bring about change and improve the lives of the less-privileged, reflect the philanthropic, humanitarian and holistic ideals and values of the RAFI founder, Don Ramon Aboitiz and Don Eduardo Aboitiz.


These heroes, although working for different causes, share one vision of empowering people and communities to create a better future. The last 21 years have been very fulfilling for RAFI. Through the RAFI Triennial Awards, it has honored these individuals and institutions as role models in our communities as they became instruments in touching and shaping people’s lives. RAFI has also gone beyond recognizing their laudable efforts, making sure that they get to continue to become key players in uplifting human conditions.

–Jon Ramon Aboitiz
Chair & Chief Executive Officer
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.


A total of 147 nominations from both the Individual and Institution categories were received and screened from all over Visayas and Mindanao. After months of careful screening, validation, and interviews, the finalists were selected by the RAFI Triennial Awards Search Committee — an independent, multi-sectoral group. The Committee is chaired by Melanie C. Ng, Immediate Past President, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ma. Theresa Rivera, Communications and Research professor, Isolde D. Amante, Editor-in-Chief of Sun.Star Cebu, Efren Carreon, Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority VII, and Eddie Alih, member of the Consultative Committee to Revise the 1987 Constitution and winner of the 2nd RAFI Triennial Awards for the individual category.

The RAFI Triennial Awards is the premier social development award in the Visayas and Mindanao that recognizes the philanthropic, humanitarian, and holistic efforts of individuals and institutions in enhancing the quality of life of groups and communities. It is conferred every three years.

Since its first awards in 1999, the RAFI Triennial Awards has recognized 66 Exemplary Individuals and Outstanding Institutions from all over the Philippines.


More than just honoring individuals and institutions for being agents of change, the RAFI Triennial Awards is a celebration of hope. Through the finalists’ selfless acts, we hope to see a better future for people in the communities they work in, and see more people inspired to work for the common good.

–Domi Chua
President & Chief Operating Officer
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.


The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.