MANILA, Nov. 30, 2011—An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has been bestowed an award for her untiring efforts in upholding the sanctity of the family and life.
Family Law and Family Rights advocate Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong, who is also the executive secretary of the CBCP Legal office, was accorded the 2011 Family Values Award by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which recognizes the honorable efforts of moral, outstanding community leaders who are striving to advance standards and values consistent with the said church’s position on the sanctity of the family.
A practicing lawyer, Imbong is also an activist, an educator and a family advocate, but first and foremost, a mother. She is married to Manuel B. Imbong, a lawyer with whom she has eight children and three grandchildren.
Through her parents’ example, Imbong learned her practices of piety and spirit of sacrifice. That is why it was not difficult for her to bid farewell to a blossoming career in law (working at the Court of Appeals and as a Congressional Chief of Staff) and become a full-time mother while she was eight months pregnant with her second child.
She has always held values learned from her parents and the Church close to her heart, but it was not until 11 years ago that she started her advocacy. A bill was filed in congress to legalize abortion and she vehemently opposed it as part of her volunteer service for a non-government organization. She met with Pro-Life people, learned that the CBCP needed a lawyer, and the rest is history.
Imbong is currently a university counsel and a lecturer of the University of Asia and the Pacific, at the same time a faculty member of the Ateneo de Manila University and Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism. Aside from being the CBCP Legal Office’s Executive Secretary, she is also consultant to the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) and the Office on Women. She is also a regular columnist for the CBCP Monitor.
She was also a trustee of the Philippine Alliance Against Pornography (PAAP, Executive Director of the Family Media Advocacy Foundation, and a member of the International Bar Association Media Law Committee.
In 2001, she founded 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-Chair of Professional & Cultural Development for Women Foundation, a private voluntary organization engaged in the training and formation of working women and homemakers.
For her pro bono work in Family Rights Advocacy, Atty. Jo — as she is fondly called — is a recipient of the Fr. Paul B. Marx Pro-Life Award from Human Life International, and Blessed Pedro Calungsod Pro-Life Award from His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
Along with Imbong, the couple recipients of the 2011 Family Values Awards were Engr. Bayani F. Fernando and Mrs. Ma. Lourdes C. Fernando, both former city mayors responsible for the establishment of a yearly festival which seeks to celebrate kinship and solidarity and to honor Marikina families.
The awarding ceremonies, hosted by Patrick and Karen Esmundo, were held November 29 at the Isla Ballroom of Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong.
The Family Values Awards are presented annually to community leaders in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Notable recipients include Australian Prime Minister John Howard MP, anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia policy maker Jack Snelling MP, and Fr. Thomas Rosica the National Director/CEO of World Youth Day (Canada). (CBCP for Life)