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UP alumni in HK present tribute booklet on Amba Bernie to PCG

29 April 2020

By The SUN

Representatives of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association – Hong Kong presented a commemorative booklet on the late Ambassador Bernardita Catalla today, Apr 29, to Consul General Raly Tejada.

UPAA president Sherina Erno-Manimtim and former board member Jeko Abila handed over the booklet to Congen Tejada, who in turn, has undertaken to display it in a place accessible to the public for a time before it is added to their book collection.

“It is very well made and a fitting tribute to a fallen hero,” said Congen Tejada.
The booklet contains pictures and remembrances of Amba Bernie, as she was fondly called by many in the Filipino community in Hong Kong, where she served as consul general from 2014 to 2017. 

Catalla, who was 62, then moved on to take up the post as ambassador to Lebanon, where she died on Apr 2 due to complications from Covid-19.
Earlier, UPAA-HK members also donated around Php210,000 in Amba Bernie’s memory to the UP-Philippine General Hospital in Manila, to be used for buying protective gear for its medical personnel who are at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.

Congen Tejada said he also conveyed his gratitude to UPAA-HK for its “kind gesture to donate to UP-PGH in the name of Amba Bernie."

Erno and Abila presented the tribute booklet to Congen Tejada, who is also from UP

The late ambassador, who was a UP alumna herself, endeared herself to UPAA-HK because of her active participation in the group’s various activities, and for her friendly and easygoing nature.

Part of the tribute read: “During her time in Hong Kong, ConGen Bernie showed much dedication to tackle the challenging demands of her job, while becoming a caring sister and loving friend to many in the Filipino community.”
The booklet also includes a eulogy from The SUN, which cited Amba Bernie as the prime mover of the ban on dangerous window-cleaning, which now forms part of the employment contracts of foreign domestic workers.

Former UPAA-HK chair Rex Aguado summed up what the late diplomat meant to the community by saying, “It’s hard to capture in words a life well lived, even though that life seemed to have been unjustly snuffed out.”

Amba Bernie’s remains were received with full honors on arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on Apr 15, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. leading the mourners.

A brief ceremony was held to pay tribute to the late ambassador’s 27 years of service to the country, before her remains were brought to a crematorium in Pasay City.

The Department of Foreign Affairs ordered flags at all its offices in the Philippines and overseas to be flown at half-mast for three days in her honor.

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