I don’t know what the big deal is about Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama receiving the Lifetime Achievement award in Hollywood, California over the weekend.
My initial response to the news that the mayor was flying to the United States to accept the award was, huh?
Why would Rama, a Filipino elected official, get a “lifetime award” from an American institution? It just didn’t make any sense.
So I decided to Google America Excellence Awards (AEA) to find out more about this award-giving body.
According to its website, it’s a “premier awards program recognizing outstanding achievements in business, leadership, and innovation across America. We are a prestigious awards organization dedicated to celebrating excellence and promoting best practices in various industries.”
The last time I checked Mayor Rama is a full-blooded Cebuano who holds a Filipino passport which makes him a Filipino. And not an American. So how did he qualify?
Better yet, how did this year’s other awardees qualify considering most, if not all of them are from the Philippines or Filipino organizations?
According to the AEA website, it is “presented by a team of industry experts and business leaders who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the evaluation process. Our judges are committed to recognizing and celebrating excellence in business, while also promoting best practices that drive growth and success.”
However, it does not say who the judges are or list their qualifications.
At any rate, a “prestigious awards organization” would not be soliciting for nominations on its website. But AEA does.
And it doesn’t go out there to select possible recipients, it accepts nominations. Judging by this year’s awardees, it looks like anyone can nominate. Oh wait, you can nominate yourself or your organization. You even get to decide your award title.
Among the awardees are Elizabeth Jill Tamayo-Hutchinson for “most outstanding actress of the ‘90s,” Gabriel Paolo Diño Lagman for “most outstanding young actor 2023,” and Rey PJ Abellana.
Granted Elizabeth or Beth and PJ may now be American citizens, but how did her acting gig in the Philippines more than two decades ago or his acting gig in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s “promote best practices that drive growth and success?” I smell something fishy.