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Filipino immigrant honored by CNN for charity efforts

Efren Penaflorida received the title of Hero of the Year because of a program he started in 1997 to provide educational materials and information to children living on the streets in his home country of the Philippines, according to CNN.

Over 12,000 teenage volunteers take part in Penaflorida’s organization, helping to drive pushcarts stocked with books and other supplies through the streets of Manila and other cities in the Philippines.

Upon his return from the U.S., Penaflorida was given a second commendation, the Order of Lakandula, from then-President Gloria Arroyo. However, the hero conveyed modesty after he received this high honor.

“I received the medal but shared the honor with my co-volunteers, my mentor and the children we reach out to,” he told the news source. “The government heads received an instruction from the president to have the pushcart schools replicated all over the country.”

Because poverty is so prevalent in the Philippines, people like Penaflorida, immigrants from the nation who are working abroad and remit to the Philippines, are often considered true heroes. According to the The Migration Information Source, in 2006 there were 1.6 million Filipino immigrants living in the U.S.

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