CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- After being shelved in 2013 when the City Council amended a governing ordinance, the city government here through the private sector-run executive committee has announced the resumption of the search for exemplary citizens in The Outstanding Fernandino Awards or TOFA.

Mayor Edwin Santiago and TOFA 2016 Executive Committee Chairman Frank De Jesus said in a press conference at the City Hall on Monday that the City Council has amended Section 9 of Ordinance No. 2009-001 or the TOFA by holding the search every three years instead of annually.

“Under the amended ordinance, the search, screening and judging committee will now have ample time to screen and select nominations based on the criteria. It’s one way of modeling and communication that aims to inspire Fernandinos,” Santiago said.

De Jesus, for his part said that about 20 categories---Religious Service, Environment Care and Preservation, Education, Law, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Social Service, Military Law and Enforcement, Medicine (including Health Services/Allied Medical Profession,) Business, Culture and Arts (including Heritage and History,) Community Service, Parenthood and Family, Senior Citizens Service, Sports, Media, Youth Service, Government Service, Entrepreneurship, and Person with Disability---are in the TOFA 2016, as in the usual years, but are normally not filled up.

Since its inception, there have been 122 awardees, he added.

“It doesn’t mean that if there is only one nominee in a category, automatic na siya na ang awardee. With regards to a nominee who does not fall under the identified categories, then the creation of one, if the nominee is really qualified, will be a collective decision of the committee,” he said.

De Jesus said the search starts Monday and nominations will close on October 30, 2015.

“It gives us ample time to screen and decide before the awarding rites on February 4, 2016 during the cityhood anniversary or Kaganapan celebrations," he said.

TOFA, according to De Jesus who is an awardee himself, aims to give honor and recognition to outstanding Fernandinos who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and professions and contributed to the welfare of the Fernandinos; to preserve the Fernandino culture and tradition by recognizing those who have shared their talents and efforts to the success and glory of the city; and to provide an inspiration to young Fernandinos by paying tribute to those who have exemplified the city and its people.

He said any recognized individual or group could file a nomination at the secretariat (Tourism Office at city hall) so long as the nominee was born in San Fernando or at least one of his or her parents is a Fernandino or should be a resident of San Fernando for the past 15 years; of good moral character and has exceptional personal conduct or exemplary accomplishment a chosen field that has contributed to the enhancement of the reputation of the Fernandinos; and has documented proof of outstanding works or accomplishments.

With De Jesus in the TOFA 2016 Executive Committee are co-chairman Councilor Harvey Quiwa, Michael Quilala, Dr. Leticia Yap, Melanie Briones, Alfrito Mah, City Administrator Fernando Limbitco and Elias Miranda among others. (JTD/Sun.Star Pampanga)