GSP Celebrates 74th Anniversary; Honors Dr. Helena Z Benitez

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On May 26, 1940, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines was chartered under Commonwealth Act No. 542 during the administration of President Manuel L. Quezon. On its 74th founding anniversary, May 26, 2014, GSP celebrated the event at the GSP National Headquarters (NHQ), Manila. On the same day, GSP honored Dr. Helena Z Benitez, Charter and Life Member, in celebration of her 100th birthday the 74th anniversary of the GSP Charter held on May 26, 2014, Dr Benitez was the First Chairperson of the GSP Central Board when it was organized in 1940.

The Anniversary Mass was celebrated at the Pilar Hidalgo-Lim Auditorium by Rev. Fr. Jun Nohara, OSA, who brought with him the Pilgrim Image of Señor Santo Niño De Cebu through the effort of Myrna Garrido, Friends of Asia Pacific WAGGGS-Philippines Working Group Chairperson.

After the mass, the guests assembled at the Josefa Llanes-Escoda Hall to witness the program prepared for the 74th GSP Anniversary, the launching of the 75th Diamond Jubilee of GSP for 2015, and the 100th birthday celebration honoring Dr. Benitez.

The GSP National President Salud A. Bagalso, M.D., in her welcome address, said that the GSP’s existence for the past 74 years is a testament to its history of great challenges and liberating victories. She mentioned that the important event this year is the celebration honoring the only Centenarian the Girl Scouts would probably ever meet in their lifetime – Hon. Helena Z Benitez. Dr. Bagalso then launched the year-long activities that will lead to GSP’s Diamond Anniversary in 2015.

Dr. Amelita Dayrit-Go, International Commissioner, then paid tribute to Hon. Helena Z. Benitez saying “We Girl Scouts call her “Tita Helen” or “Miss Benitez” with great admiration and respect. HZB is the Girl Scout. Her Life is the Girl Scout Promise and Law being lived…”

Armin Comon, Winner of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists and Faculty of Philippine Women’s University School of Music, serenaded HZB for her 100 meaningful years while 5-Age Level Girl Scouts offered floral bouquets to her.

Senior Girl Scouts from Manila Council performed the dance “Binasuan” as  a tribute to HZB. Then, students from Carlos P. Garcia National High School performed “Karatong” and “Bulaklakan” in celebration of the GSP’s 74th anniversary.

Dr. Benitez then gave a warm response after all the presentations, saying these significant words: “When we are together, working together, we can accomplish many things; when we are few, not too much. When alone, not much, if at all. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”