Three teachers from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) were named as recipients of the 5th Cleofe M. Bacungan Natatanging Guro Awards for outstanding teaching in the top science school in the Philippines. They were honored on Nov. 19, 2021at the virtual awarding ceremony.

Kristine Joy Aguila of the PSHS Main Campus won in the Humanities and Social Humanities and Social Sciences category, Ronna Magto of the PSHS Western Mindanao Campus in the Mathematics and Computer Science category, and Erika Eunice Salvador of the PSHS Western Visayas Campus in the Natural Sciences category.

Each took home P50,000 and a CMB Natatanging Guro trophy.

The CMB Natatanging Guro Awards shines a spotlight on the inspiring work teachers do to help maintain the high teaching excellence in the PSHS, especially amid the pandemic, to shape globally competitive Filipino scientists equipped with 21st century skills.

The PSHS, an attached agency of the Department of the Science and Technology (DosT), is a research-oriented, specialized public school, which is considered as the top science school in the Philippines and one of the best in the Asean region in 2016. Except for the Bangsamoro, each region in the Philippines has PSHS.

Dr. Cleofe Bacungan served the PSHS for 35 years, including as director and later as president of the PSHS Foundation.

Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, a former teacher, delivered the keynote address during the virtual ceremony broadcast over PSHS Facebook page and YouTube channel.

"Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sakripisyo ninyo para sa kabataan at para sa bayan. ... Kaya saludo ako sa bawat isa sa inyo (Thank you very much for your sacrifices for our youth and our country. ... I salute all of you)," Robredo was quoted as saying in a media release.

"This responsibility takes on even more gravity as we face the greatest challenge of our time. Edukasyon ang isa sa mga pinaka apektadong sektor [sa pandemya], at hanggang ngayon patuloy ang pag-aadjust natin sa online classes at modular learning (The education sector is one of the most affected by the pandemic, and we continue to adjust to online classes and modular learning)," she added.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña also congratulated the awardees, highlighting the critical role of teachers in social growth.

He said the Philippine Science High School is the "home of exceptional teachers who are our engineers of learning, our advocates of critical thinking, and our partners in creating a new breed of Filipinos who will create a positive impact on our country."

The CMB Natatanging Guro Awards this year partnered with Bayer Philippines Inc., a global life science company, to express appreciation for the PSHS teachers and the importance of supporting science education.

"Bayer is here with the Philippine Science High School in support of science ― to appreciate the teachers who are developing this country's scientific talent," said Angel-Michael Evangelista, managing director and country division head for pharmaceuticals at Bayer Philippines.

"We look forward to collaborating more with the Philippine Science High School in the future because our country needs your scientific talent now more than ever. In the face of so many challenges like food security, climate change, and this pandemic ― the world needs us to make science for a better life," he added.

Inspiring excellence in teaching the CMB Natatanging Guro Awards is the flagship program of the Cleofe M. Bacuñgan Natatanging Guro Endowment Fund instituted by PSHS Alumni Batch 1982 in 2007.

It has since evolved into a tripartite endeavor of the PSHS System; the PSHS National Alumni Association and the PSHS Foundation Inc. The CMB Natatanging Guro Awards are open every three years to all PSHS faculty in its campuses across the country.

The awards are given to outstanding teachers in the following categories: Natural Sciences; Mathematics and Computer Science and Humanities. The criteria for selection are Teaching Effectiveness; Research and Creative Work; Academic Background and Professional Development; and Administrative and Extension Work.