THE Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) has announced the winners of the 2016 Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT).
Composed of four elementary, four secondary public school teachers, and two professors from the higher education level, the winners join the rank of 346 outstanding teachers who have been honored by the Foundation since 1985. They will be conferred with gold medallions, trophies, and cash prize amounting to P500,000 each.
The 2016 search produced first-time winners from Caloocan City, Oriental Mindoro, and Lingayen in Pangasinan.
The elementary competition winners are: Winona Diola of De La Salle Santiago Zobel School (Muntinlupa City); Rujealyn Cancino of Lingayen I Central School (Lingayen, Pangasinan); Josephine Chonie Obsenares of Butuan City SPED Center (Butuan City, Agusan del Norte); and Arnol Rosales of Francisco Melgar Memorial School (Naujan, Oriental Mindoro).
For the secondary competition, the winners are: Dr. Roy Basa of Negros Occidental High School (Bacolod City, Negros Occidental); Nelson Agoyaoy of University of the East Elementary and High School Department (Caloocan City); Ma. Regaele Olarte of Muntinlupa National High School-Main (Muntinlupa City); and Dr. Katherine Faith Bustos of Nueva Vizcaya General Comprehensive High School (Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya).
Meanwhile, Dr. Ernelea Cao of University of the Philippines-Diliman (Quezon City) and Dr. Mark Anthony Torres of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (Iligan City, Lanao del Norte) are the winners for the higher education competition.
MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña congratulated the winners, saying: "Teachers are the backbone of nation-building efforts. Through their use of effective teaching strategies and their involvement in community projects outside the classroom, they are able to mold the next generation of Filipinos to work for social progress. On behalf of Metrobank Group Chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty, the Metrobank Foundation is proud of its continued commitment to improving the quality of Philippine education by recognizing excellence in the teaching profession."
This year's search garnered the most nominations in its 32-year history with a total of 534 nominations generated nationwide. They were trimmed down to 127 provincial finalists, then shortlisted to 40 regional finalists who underwent teaching demonstrations and panel interviews before the preliminary board of judges of each category.
The national finalists appeared before the final board of judges for a final interview chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva and co-chaired by Representative Romero Federico "Miro" Quimbo (second district, Marikina City).
Member judges include Department of Science and Technology (DOST) secretary Fortunato de la Peña; Court of Tax Appeals presiding justice Roman Del Rosario; Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III; Ambassador of India to the Philippines, His Excellency Lalduhthlana Ralte; New Era University president Dr. Nilo Rosas; and Inquirer.net editor-in-chief John Nery.
"It's such a great experience to hear firsthand different stories on how they were able to not only overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but actually emerging as victors, as role models," said Senator Villanueva. "You can see in it their eyes that with or without this award, they will continue to press on towards their goal - giving not just quality education but a better future for the young people of this nation."
The 10 outstanding teachers will be presented together with the 2016 awardees of the Country's Outstanding Police Officers in Service (Cops) and The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (Tops) -- collectively known as the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos -- in a formal awarding ceremony on September 5 as part of Metrobank's 54th anniversary celebration.
For three decades, SOT has honored the teaching profession, acknowledging those who exhibit competence, remarkable dedication to their work, and effective educational leadership, as well as their various community involvements. It is implemented by MBFI in partnership with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.
Over the years, the search has become a sought-after award among educators as it earned the prestige of becoming a benchmark of excellence in the teaching profession. In 2010, the search was awarded the Grand Anvil, the highest recognition during the 45th Anvil Awards given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines. (PR)