November 30, 2023

One of the legal defenders of the masses from the Cordillera, Mary Inglay Capuyan-Fokno, was awarded as an outstanding social worker in the Philippines by the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) on Sept. 22.

Fokno, more popularly known as Inglay, received the distinction for the second time during PASWI’s 75th Jubilee celebration of service in Manila City.

The first time Fokno received the prestigious award was in 2004.

“For her indomitable spirit as a lawyer for the masses, representing the down and the trodden, the marginalized and oppressed,” the citation for Fokno said. She was a past president of PASWI Baguio-Benguet.

Fokno was born in Sagada, Mountain Province and finished high school at St. Mary’s School in the town. She graduated as a social worker at Silliman University before taking her Masters in Social Work in University of the Philippines Diliman. She took her Law degree at Saint Louis University.

She lawyers for small-scale miners and juvenile delinquents while she also opened the Cordillera Quest to provide out-of-school youths from Benguet and nearby provinces skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Her restaurant, Inglay Restaurant in La Trinidad, Benguet, has served as food drive many times to calamity victims. During the Covid-19 lockdown, she also opened a feeding station in the restaurant.  

In 2022, the municipal government of La Trinidad also honored Fokno for outstanding professional social service work as among the 24 awardees of the Special Kayabang Awards during the 72nd foundation anniversary celebration of the municipality.

PASWI has been at the forefront of issues concerning the welfare and well-being of the country’s social workers since its inception in 1948.

The Philippine Regulatory Commission reported there are about 36,000 registered social workers.

“Her notable dedication to PASWI and its initiatives, her belief that one should have an advocacy greater than oneself, as well as her contributions as former member of the board of directors are deeply appreciated and her life of love, grace and faith continue to inspire,” the group stated.