Metrobank Foundation recently held the awarding of its 10 Outstanding Filipinos for those who rendered service above and beyond their call of duty — three soldiers, three policemen and four educators.
Each of the awardee was given P1 million cash and a trophy.
Lt. Colonel Elmer Suderio, one of the 10 Outstanding Filipinos awardees, opened his acceptance speech with a story of a young boy from the province. “Allow me to tell you a story of a young boy from the province of Iloilo, who used to harvest in a farmland that they do not own. He had been used to working for hours just to contribute to the family provisions of having at most two good meals a day—one that he wished would be more,” he said.
Suderio said the young boy always looked forward to the day that he would make something more than he was.
“This young boy was me,” he revealed.
Tagged as Basilan’s “Soldier Trailblazer,” Suderio has showed that being a true soldier is not about combat; a true soldier must also perform tasks for the progress of the community.
In combat, he led a series of successful operations as commander of the Third Scout Ranger Battalion against the Abu Sayyaf Group from 2015 to 2017 in the strife-torn island of Basilan. By using unconventional combat methods, he was able to neutralize notorious terrorists. At the same time, he sought to improve the peace and order conditions in the communities inside the warzone.
Suderio, who embraces human rights, is also known for commanding his soldiers to treat captured terrorists humanely and with respect. This effort led to the recognition of his teams as the best Scout Ranger Battalion in 2016. He was also was cited for establishing a subject on unit administration at the Philippine Military Academy.
Soldiers as awardees
Alongside Suderio, Staff Sergeant Narding Pascual and Lieutenant Colonel Ricky Bunayog were among the Outstanding Filipinos awarded by Metrobank Foundation.
Pascual—a meek Lumad and a proud native of the Banwaon tribe—leads the group of indigenous Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units in their struggle toward peace and sustainable development in their community. He also did the groundwork for the rural electrification project in Sitio Km. 24 in Mahagsay, San Luis. Because of his persistent engagement with the municipal government and the villagers, powerlines were built connecting 60 households.
Pascual also organized a livelihood project for indigenous people communities through a falcata tree plantation project covering four hectares in Mahagsay.
Meanwhile, Bunayog has a sentiment that his mission to serve as a warrior should be balanced with his duty as a peacemaker. He was recognized for his non-combat strategies to resolve blood feuds, or the settlement of ridos—a long standing feuds in the province. The ridos he settled stemmed from the land conflcts and religious clashes in the five municilpalities of Sultan Kudarat and 10 municipalities of Maguindanao through his close coordination with the provincial governors, ten mayors and local leaders. He also facilitated the construction of two Madrasah buildings and the repair of school facilities in Maguindanao, providing Muslim children better schooling.
Four Filipinos from the education sector were also awarded by the Metrobank Foundation: Jennifer Rojo, Edgar Elago, Esperanza Cabrera and Alonzo Gabriel.
Rojo is currently Master Teacher II at the Neogan Elementary School—a humble barrio school with 300 students in Tagaytay City. Rojo was acknowledged for her part in developing different learning strategies like worksheets in the form of puzzles and games. She desires to make Science as enjoyable as it is informative, as shown in the various beyond-the-textbook initiatives she has developed.
Because of the absence of a Science laboratory in the school, she developed the Mobile Sci-Hub Lab. The hub is foldable and has wheels, making it suitable for schools without lab rooms or prone to floods.
Elago, a Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health and Araling Panlipunan teacher, was cited for his research on cultural awareness and scholarship efforts. He also established an art shop, a social enterprise that rents Filipino costumes that he himself designs. Part of the earnings of the art shop goes to the fund for his college scholarship program. His efforts have helped 60 scholars so far.
Cabrera was recognized for her achievement in the field of microbiology, including the establishment of facilities for aspiring and practicing microbiologists. A pillar at the De La Salle University in Manila, Cabrera led the institution of the BS biology program and the development of well-equipped facilities in microbiology and molecular science in the university. Her researches have been published in various local and international ISI Thomson-Reuters-indexed and Scopus Elsevier-indexed scientific journals.
Meanwhile, Gabriel was cited for his initiatives to establish the country’s only laboratory for food microbiology and hygiene. As a food science and technology professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, he led the only lab at UP’s College of Home Economics.
Three policemen – PO3 Shiela May Pansoy, Chief Inspector Rosalino Ibay Jr. and Sr. Supt. Joel Doria – were also among the 2017 awardees of the Metrobank Foundation.
Pansoy was acknowledged for initiating a quick response program for abused children and women. She was instrumental in the implementation of “Aksyon Agad”—a program that entails the rescue and assistance of victims toward recovery, and filing of cases against abusers. She also assures children are given the opportunity to live in abuse-free foster homes for shelter. Pansoy’s heart for service shows not only on how she champions advocacies dear to her, because she also makes herself accessible to the citizens she serves.
Ibay was known for his efforts in launching a digital platform for stolen vehicles and the founding of a non-government organization doing humanitarian projects. Since the use of his “Manila CRAV” Facebook page, information on stolen vehicles has become widespread. It has reached bigger number of people within the confines of Manila but also nationwide. Under his leadership in the Manila Police District’s Anti-Carnapping and Hijacking Unit, Manila’s reputation as the carnapping capital of the Philippines was eventually reversed.
On the other hand, Doria was credited for his anti-criminality crusade through a program called POKEMON or Pakigbatukan Og sumpoon and Krien ug ang Epekto sa ilegal nga Makadaut Og makaguba sa Nasud/Fight and Eradicate Crime and Illegal Activities that are Detrimental to the Nation. What sets POKEMON apart from other anti-illegal drugs initiatives is its commitment to tackle criminality without losing respect for morality; one year has passed since its implementation, and there has not been any single reported violation nor complaint against the program.
Touching ending statement
Suderio the soldier, ended his speech with words from Martin Luther King Jr.: “An individual has not started living, until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is more to be done for our people. Individually and as a collective, let us all contribute using our own respective capacities, to address the broader concerns of all humanity,” he added.