Press Release
November 9, 2021

Co-sponsorship Speech of Sen. Gatchalian
Senate Resolution No. 838, 860, 874, 899
Honoring the 2021 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos

November 9, 2021
Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines

Senator of the 18th Congress:

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues in the Senate, good afternoon.

I consider it a breather during these troubled and turbulent times to hear stories of some of our kababayans who are making great strides in their respective fields.

This year's batch of Metrobank Foundation's Outstanding Filipinos went the extra mile in overcoming adversities brought upon by the pandemic and displayed remarkable acts of service even beyond their call of duty to our countrymen.

For the 2021 Outstanding Filipino Award for Teachers, Mr. President, we're grateful to have "Quezon City's Transformative Educator" Lou Sabrina Ongkiko, "the Philippines' Proactive Organizational Health Leader and Pharmacovigilance Advocate" Dr. Maria Minerva P. Calimag, "Manila's Breakthrough Medical Educator and Translational Researcher in Health informatics" Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, and Muntinlupa City's Global Science Educator Jason B. Albaro.

The circumstances in which these educators have trained for changed dramatically and yet they managed to navigate the challenges and apply new teaching techniques to continually improve their practice.

"Teacher Sabs", as fondly called by her students, is being recognized for developing and implementing a learning continuity program in her school since the pandemic broke out. She helped pilot the first Facebook messenger class, wrote lesson scripts, and strengthened learner mapping and community support to ensure program sustainability. Some of these processes later became a blueprint not only for other schools but also for the Department of Education Central Office.

Dr. Calimag utilized digital media in engaging and influencing communities, patients, and peers to embrace pharmacovigilance advocacy on the promotion of drug safety and drug anticounterfeiting initiatives. As early as 2014, Dr. Calimag conceptualized and co-developed a cloud-based online program for the continuing development of health professionals, a capacitybuilding initiative long before the introduction of webinars.

Her fellow medical practitioner, Dr. Tan, makes full use of the digital platform to combat misinformation and promote health literacy through digestible content. As a social media scholar who advocates for the improvement of health literacy about goiter and diabetes online, she also encourages discourse on the presence of physicians on social media. She believes in the power of educational technology to combat misinformation.

As program director of the Intervention Driven Instructional Design and Innovation Transfer or "I DID IT!", Teacher Jason encourages students and professionals to innovate and invent solutions that can cause change in the society. His innovative solutions for the community include co-managing the first chlorella micro-farm in the Philippines and the rehabilitation of Muntinlupa's small recreational lake. Both projects give way to sustainable food production and livelihood for the locals.

Most people will easily describe police officers as strong, brave, and heroic. Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, this year's Outstanding Police Officers proved to us that there's more to it than that, as they embody good communication skills, compassion, empathy, and integrity.

Cebu police officers Senior Master Sergeant Mary Joy B. Ylanan and Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace J. Pelare gained recognition for their efforts in the campaign against illegal drugs in a humanitarian manner.

Described as Bogo City's "Guardian of Police Community Relations," Ylanan also helped in bringing justice to victims of sexual abuse and human rights violations and her efforts led to swift arrest of felons guilty of rape and trafficking in persons.

Pelare, meanwhile, is Talisay City's "police chief protector and counsel." As a lawyer, he instituted legal aid dubbed as "Itanong kay Attorney Tsip" which offers pro bono legal advice and services to uniformed and non-uniformed PNP personnel as well as indigent families since 2017.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Pablito's expertise in institutional reforms and strategic communications served as critical foundations when he took on the massive responsibility of ensuring institutional buy-in and ownership of the PNP's Integrated Transformation Program called Peace and order Agenda for Transformation and the upholding of the Rule of Law or PATROL.

When he took over Iloilo City Proper and Malay-Boracay police stations, he drastically reduced the volume of crimes while fostering community engagements that proved effective for peace and order management during critical incidents.

Lastly, from the ranks of those in the frontline of the battle grounds, we commend the dedication of these military servicemen in keeping our communities safe and carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster response activities.

Philippine Airforce's "humanitarian assistance and disaster response vanguard" Technical Sergeant Jake P. Belino subscribes to the philosophy that no one is left behind.

His heart for service fuels his dedication to bring home the remains of dead and missing persons, whatever it takes. Among his notable stints were leading the organized teams during the Marawi strife and mass casualty landslide in Benguet at the height of Typhoon Ompong. Due to his operational experience and technical expertise, the DILG adopted his tactical innovations in authoring the country's first training package for the management of dead and missing persons which was cascaded to different regions.

Lieutenant Colonel Elmer M. Boongaling, who has been serving for 27 years, is Philippine Army's peacebuilder for safe and resilient communities. In leading the Army's 33rd Infantry Battalion in December 2020, Boongaling was able to put an end to the long-standing clan war in Rajah Buayan in Maguindanao and persuaded 14 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to surrender to military and local officials in 2019.

Philippine Air Force' Colonel Augusto N. Padua is likewise an innovator for peace. He advocated for counterinsurgency efforts with the dropping of leaflets and not explosives. Since he took command of the PAF's Tactical Operations Group 2 in 2019, his unit has performed strategic aerial leaflets dropping operations and persuasion flights in Region 2's hinterlands, in the hope of dismantling guerilla fronts. Such an approach persuaded 103 individuals to abandon armed rebellion and be re-integrated into mainstream society.

Mr. President, these extraordinary individuals are quietly fulfilling their sworn duties. But their professionalism, bravery, and sacrifices should not be left unnoticed and should instead be widely shared in inspiring our future teachers, law enforcers, and soldiers to replicate and even surpass their achievements. Thank you, Mr. President.

News Latest News Feed