The Bagong Bayani Awards (BBA) is a worldwide search for the country’s outstanding and exemplary Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The awards seek to recognize and pay tribute to our OFWs for their significant efforts in fostering goodwill among peoples of the world, enhancing and promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker, and for greatly contributing to the socio-economic development of their communities and our country as a whole. The BBA aims at providing proper recognition to deserving nominees, thus setting up examples for others to emulate, and for the country to be proud of.

Any active Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), landbased or seabased that are qualified may be nominated.


Captain Gregorio S. Oca

A man of Vision, Honor and Intergity
A graduate of Philippine Nautical School (Philippine Merchant Marine Academy), Captain Oca started as a seafarer before he became a maritime trade union leader. As founding chairman of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP-PTGWO), he initiated programs to improve the plight of Filipino seafarers particularly in seafarer training, health, and welfare. Under his stewardship and the support of its members, AMOSUP established hospitals, housing and billeting facilities, and training centers and schools including the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific. Captain Oca also worked for the protection of Filipino seafarers against proliferation of piracy in international waters and the approval of the Standard Employment Contract for mariners.
Captain Oca was a recognized leader in the shipping and maritime industry. He was Presidential Consultant on Maritime Affairs of the Office of the President from 1999 to 2001. He represented the sea-based sector in the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA); the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); the Board of Trustees of the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP); and the Maritime Training Council (MTC). He was also the president of the Bagong Bayani Foundation, Inc., a private foundation that recognizes the excellence of overseas Filipino workers around the world and the Philippine Maritime Education and Training Foundation, Inc. Because of his many legacies and accomplishments, he had been awarded for his contribution to maritime trade unionism, shipping, and the Philippine society. Captain Oca was awarded the Order of Lakandula with the Rank of Bayani, the highest distinction given by the Philippine government to a civilian on June 23, 2010. He was also conferred the Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in recognition of his support and services to the Church on July 25, 2010.
The life, service, and legacies of Captain Gregorio S. Oca reflect that of a true maritime leader – a champion of Filipino seafarers and maritime workers.

Board of Trustees


Capt. Gregorio S. Oca



Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III


Honorary Chairperson


VAdm. Eduardo Ma R. Santos


Representing Associated Marine Officers & Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP)


Rene E. Cristobal

Vice - President

Representing Association for Professionalism In Overseas Employment (ASPROE)


Edwina L. Beech


Individual Landbased Group


Alicia B. Devulgado

Internal Auditor

Representing Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines (OPAP)


Raquel E. Bracero

Corporate Secretary

Representing Philippine Association of Service Exporter, Inc. (PASEI)


Leonardo B. De Ocampo

Individual Landbased Group


Levi S. De Mesa

Individual Landbased Group


Capt. Juanito G. Salvatierra, Jr

Representing Joint Ship Group (JMG) & Philippine Association of Manning Agencies and Ship Managers (PAMAS)


Capt. Gaudencio C. Morales

Representing Filipino Association for Mariner's Employment, Inc. (FAME)


Bernard P. Olalia

Administrator (POEA)

Honorary Trustee


Hans Leo J. Cacdac

Administrator (OWWA)

Honorary Trustee


Jocelyn T. Sanchez

Deputy Administrator (POEA)

Executive Director


Elizabeth D. Mirabueno

Head, POEA-BBFI Secretariat


Atty. Angeles T. Wong - Garcia



Maria Fe G. Mabini

Administrative Assistant


The BBA evolved from the concept of Mr. Ramon Alfonso A. Fuentes of the Fuentes Media Operations based on two of his copyrighted works (Copyright No. PDR-1285, dated March 05, 1975 and Copyright No. PDG-664, dated April 07, 1983).

The BBA project was assigned, transferred and conveyed by Mr. Fuentes at no cost to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration thru then Administrator Patricia A. Sto. Tomas, in a Deed of Assignment on August 31, 1983.

The first BBA was held in 1984 with eleven (11) workers being conferred the accolade including a posthumous award. In 1985, eight (8) winners were conferred the awards from a total of ninety-nine (99) nominations.

The EDSA Revolution and the consequent changes temporarily halted the Awards. In June 1989, the BBA was re-launched by POEA to underscore the emerging form of heroism which could only be attributed to the overseas contract workers’ consistent contribution to the country’s foreign exchange earnings and the efforts in employment generation. No less than the President herself has called the overseas contract worker as the new economic hero.

The concept of the re-launched BBA remained the same. The search covered both landbased and seabased workers with one finished contract within the period 1974 to 1998. The outstanding contribution as a contract worker expressed in terms of accomplishment, feat, exploit, deed, or act of heroism which brought recognition and honor to the Philippines remained as the main criterion.

Perhaps, the major result of the BBA activities was the organization of the Bagong Bayani Foundation, Inc. (BBFI). Although the concept of maximum private sector participation in the annual search was recognized by the POEA as early as 1985, it was not until August 1989 when the organization of the awards was given to the private sector as agreed upon in a meeting among representatives of the private sector and worker groups called for the purpose by the POEA.

The transfer of the BBA to the private sector necessitated the establishment of the Bagong Bayani Foundation Inc. (BBFI).

Since 1989, the BBFI was headed by the late Capt. Gregorio S. Oca as President. Capt. Oca devoted his unselfish time, efforts and resources in promoting the objectives of the Foundation. From 1989 to 2021, through joint public-private efforts, BBFI has conferred 228 awards to landbased and seabased workers. In 2011, a perpetual Capt. Gregorio S. Oca Achievement Award for Outstanding Seafarers was also created.