Nine Filipino graduates and 11 Filipino alumni of various Japanese universities were recently honored by the Philippine Embassy in Japan during the PAGHAYO 2015, or the First Filipino Graduation in Tokyo.
Those recognized for their academic achievements were five PhDs, three Masterals, and two Bachelor degree holders who completed their academic requirements in the fields of civil and nuclear engineering, medical sciences, information technology, and Japanese language.
The students graduated from the Aoyama International Education Institute, Tokyo University, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Waseda University, Sophia University, and the University of Tsukuba last September, according to a news release from the embassy.
William Barriga, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Japan, said in his keynote address that Filipino students in Japan only represent 6 percent of all Filipino international students worldwide.
Barriga urged the graduates to keep their communities back in the Philippines in their agenda or to keep in touch with their homeland as they continue their work abroad.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez then praised their graduation as a "a testament to hard work, competence and perseverance, as well as a recognition of Filipino talent and excellence."
The University of The Philippines also awarded its Japan-based nominees of the Bayaning Pilipino 2015 Awards in Asia and the Pacific during the same ceremony.
Helen Hanzawa, Rita Kita, and Jena Shigemizu were all lauded for embodying the award's ideals of "social responsibility, moral and social acceptability, as well as hard work, industry and discipline, and love for family."
Fr. Nilo E. Tanalega SJ, the head of Ugnayan at Tulong Para sa Maralitang Pilipino (Ugat) Foundation and caretaker of the Awards, said the award was inaugurated in 1995 after a Filipina caregiver in Hong Kong was hit by a car while saving a child.
According to the Philippine Embassy, there are currently 1,013 Filipinos in Japan pursuing higher education. Many are scholars of the Philippine and Japanese governments or private foundations.
Filipino students only account for .3 percent of all international students worldwide, the embassy said. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News