Ms. Pinky Aquino-Abellada, HERO Foundation Trustee and daughter of its founder the late president Corazon C. Aquino, delivered the opening remarks during Saludo, a benefit dinner that raised funds to support the education of military orphans.
October 21, 2011 – Big business and individual donors raised millions of pesos during a benefit dinner and pledging session on Tuesday, October 18, that could help send to school hundreds of orphans of Filipino soldiers who were killed trying to protect democracy and preserving peace in the land.
The event, which was hosted by HERO (Help Educate and Rear Orphans) Foundation, was attended by respected leaders of the business community led by some members of the foundation’s Board of Trustees namely Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Gen. Renato S. de Villa, Antonino Aquino, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Michael Tan, Raul Anthony Concepcion, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Margie Juico, Jun Bisnar and Ces Orena-Drilon.
Thousands of military orphans need educational support but HERO has funds for only a little over 700 orphan beneficiaries per year.
“Our soldiers in battle are away from their loved ones for long stretches of time and adjust to very difficult living conditions… let us make our Soldier know and feel that we truly, truly care. Join us as we work to ensure that the children they may leave behind will still be given the chance to achieve their dreams. Let us be heroes to the children of our heroes,” said Pinky Aquino-Abellada.
HERO Foundation was founded in 1988 by the late President Corazon C. Aquino. It has provided more than P98 million to 2,156 military orphans since 1988 to ensure that qualified scholars receive a yearly stipend to augment the government’s mandated tuition fee support and scholarships given by various schools.
The bulk of HERO scholars come from Mindanao with 41 percent, Luzon with 33 percent, Visayas with 18 percent, and the National Capital Region with 8 percent.
To date, more than 6,000 military orphans still need educational support as hundreds of Filipino soldiers are killed annually fighting lawless elements and insurgents around the country.
The foundation needs P126,000 to support a HERO scholar from elementary to college or provide an annual endowment of P5,000 for elementary, P8,000 for high school, and P16,000 for college.
The fund-raiser was held at the InterContinental Manila hotel with more than 300 guests from the business community responding to the call to aid military orphans.
Ces Drilon graciously hosted the event and gave an emotional introduction as an orphan herself of a military father. The show’s highlight also included performances by the country’s top artists Kyla, Isabella, John Lesaca, Bea Tantoco, Sheila Valderama, Gian Magdangal, Aj Tabaldo, Vince Bueno and Ms. Kuh Ledesma, who gave their services for free in honor of our fighting Filipino heroes.