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Family support award goes to a valiant woman

MANILA (Agencies) : Family law and rights advocate, Jo Aurea Imbong, has been awarded the 2011 Family Values Award by the Church of Latter Day Saints in acknowledgement of her untiring work in moral community leadership and pushing standards that are consistent with Church teaching on the sanctity of family life.

The awards are presented annually to people who have made an outstanding contribution to community life in the United States of America, Europe and Asia.

Imbong received her award at a ceremony hosted by Patrick and Karen Esmundo on November 29 in the Isla Ballroom of Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong.

A practising lawyer, Imbong is also an advocate for community welfare, educator and promoter of family life. However, she says that first and foremost she is a mother. 

Married to another lawyer, Manuel Imbong, she has eight children and three grandchildren.

She gave up a promising career at the Court of Appeals and as a congressional chief of staff to become a full-time mother when she was eight months pregnant with her second child, CBCP News reported.

She began her legal advocacy when a bill was filed in congress to legalise abortion, which she vehemently opposed as a volunteer with a non-government organisation. 

During this time, she met with other pro-life people, learned that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines needed a lawyer and put her name on the volunteer list.

Imbong is currently a councillor agt a university and a lecturer of the University of Asia and the Pacific, as well as a faculty member of the Ateneo de Manila University and Konrad Adenauer Centre for Journalism.

In 2001, she founded the Abay Pamilya Foundation, an association of parents and families working for women’s and family rights.

In women’s rights circles, she is currently vice chairperson of the Professional and Cultural Development for Women Foundation, which is engaged in the training and formation of working women and homemakers.

For her pro bono work in family rights advocacy, Imbong is a recipient of the Father Paul B. Marx Pro-Life Award from Human Life International and the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Pro-Life Award from Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

An engineer, Bayani Fernando, and Lourdes Fernando, both former city mayors responsible for the establishment of a yearly festival which seeks to celebrate kinship and solidarity, as well as honour families in Marikina, were honoured on the same night.

Notable past recipients include former prime minister of Australia, John Howard, anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia policymaker, Jack Snelling, for his work in the rehabilitation of workers as a member of the South Australian state parliament, and Father Thomas Rosica, the director of World Youth Day in Canada.

She gave up a promising career at the Court of Appeals and as a congressional chief of staff to become a full-time mother ...