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“Serving the people, securing the land.” Such is the byword of the uniformed men and women who are in the frontlines safeguarding the nation from all forms of threats.

It is the same rallying cry that continues to inspire Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. as he takes on, perhaps, one of the biggest responsibilities in his storied career. He was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) in charge of overseeing the country’s National Action Plan (NAP) against the COVID-19 pandemic.

This role also entails enforcing the policies issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. This puts Sec. Galvez at the helm of the government’s operational arm in confronting and mitigating the impacts of the long-drawn health crisis.

Sec. Carlito Galvez heads the National Task Force in implementing the country’s action plan to combat the COVID-19.

A retired Chief of Staff, he is no stranger to daunting tasks that come with leadership roles. Galvez was the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) where he led the liberation of Marawi City from the hands of the ISIS-inspired Maute group. He was also the Chairman of the Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH), a mechanism under the GPH and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process that ensures potential situations of conflict between the two parties are resolved immediately. In 2018, his name made headlines again upon being selected as the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

In a crisis where critical elements are at play, Sec. Galvez’s duty as the Chief Implementer involves prioritizing the welfare of millions of Filipinos, particularly in protecting their health and safety. This job, he admits, is a challenging one, as there are times when he feels the weight of the job on his shoulders given its scope and magnitude.

Despite these, what prevails is his drive to serve his countrymen. Sec. Galvez recalled how he did not have second thoughts when the President offered him the post of Presidential Peace Adviser and, later, as Chief Implementer.

Sec. Galvez addresses the public and the media

“I knew that the position would give me another opportunity to serve our fellow Filipinos after my stint with the military. This was the same feeling I had when the President appointed me to be the NAP’s Chief Implementer. I knew that the job would be a very challenging one, but I wholeheartedly accepted it,” he shared.

Game Plan Towards a Better Normal for Filipinos

Filipinos from all walks of life have grappled with the impact of the pandemic over the past months. The NTF thus set in motion a multi-pronged plan to address issues across all fronts.

According to Sec. Galvez, one of the key steps undertaken by the task force is to ensure the NAP’s effective implementation at the national level, and cascading it to the local level. This involves engaging the public and obtaining their full support.

The NAP is anchored on the End-to-End “T3” Strategy which means trace, test, and treat. It is divided into various lines of effort, namely prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration, which will enable the nation to adapt to the new normal.

Now on its second phase, the NAP seeks to strike a balance between ensuring the health and safety of the people and reviving the nation’s economy.

Working closely with partners and relevant institutions to carry out necessary interventions to address the health crisis

While the road to recovery might seem elusive, Sec. Galvez stated that the strong collaboration among stakeholders brings the Philippines closer to its goal. Case in point, the task force’s partnership with the private sector and local government units paved the way for the donation of more than two million personal protective equipment to frontliners, and the establishment of testing laboratories, swabbing centers, and quarantine facilities across the regions.

“We are focused on further strengthening the government’s partnership with the private sector, whose invaluable contribution has enabled us to provide better protection for our front liners and establish more health quarantine facilities nationwide,” he said.

Monitoring the situation and putting in place measures to curb the spread of the virus

He emphasized how the government continues to ramp up the country’s testing and contact tracing capabilities, provide support to local businesses, and encourage greater public participation in the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Further, Sec. Galvez understands the plight of Filipinos as they face an unseen, formidable enemy. He recognizes that everyone’s lives have been altered one way or another in the transition to a new normal.

With the many challenges the nation is facing, he stressed that he, along with his colleagues in the National Task Force, are allies of the people. Most of all, he, too, is a Filipino who must face the day-to-day challenges brought about by the global health crisis.

“Aside from being a former soldier and peace worker, I am also a husband, father, and brother. This is also what motivates me to do my job to the best of my ability. I know that what I am doing will not only have an impact on the people that I serve, but also on my family. I always ask myself the question ‘Will this measure or policy protect my family?” Sec. Galvez said.

Amidst all the challenges, his message to all Filipinos is one of optimism and encouragement.

The fight is far from over but he believes that people must not lose hope—the Philippines can get back on its feet if everyone continues to unite and help each other.

This is the reason, Galvez said, why the government is now focused on addressing the situation of the nation’s most vulnerable sectors, especially locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who have been infected with the disease.

“The government is doing its best to help our LSIs and ROFs. They have gone through a lot. It is our responsibility not only to ensure their safe return to their home provinces, but also to help them recover from the trauma they have experienced,” he pointed out.

According to the chief implementer, aside from addressing the health conditions of these LSIs and ROFs, there is also a need to put equal importance on the state of their mental health which has also been affected by the health crisis.

“We must not only help them recover physically, but also assist them in coping with the psychological impact of the disease. The physical and mental well-being of patients should go hand in hand,” he stressed.

Galvez noted that LGUs will play a crucial role in this effort, as they will have to help create an environment where LSIs and ROFs will feel secure upon their return to their communities and not feel discriminated upon.

He said that it is through this integrated and holistic strategy that the government hopes to contain the spread of the disease, identify, isolate and treat patients as quickly as possible, and prevent the further loss of lives.

Sec. Galvez has this to say, “Our nation and the rest of the world are facing a crisis like we have never seen before. It has not only impacted our health, but also our social order, economy, peace and security. All aspects of our life as citizens have been upended, as we undergo the difficult process of coping with these changes. I have no doubt, however, that we shall overcome this pandemic, and emerge better, stronger and more resilient than before. We can do this by working together and looking out for each other. Tapang. Malasakit. Bayanihan. Together, we heal as one, we recover as one.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have continued to be at the service of all Filipinos and performed their duty nonstop with little to no respite. This is what the new normal looks like for Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz, who remains committed to fulfill her obligations to the country and her institution during this time of public health crisis.

In 2019, Dr. Eva was named one of the 10 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos. She dons many hats as an educator, physician, and researcher. With this, work has never halted and series of engagements have constantly required her attention, especially now that she is actively involved in efforts to aid the government in the COVID-19 response.

She revealed what she considers her anchor during this period. “I am still overwhelmed with grief upon losing friends and colleagues in the medical profession due to COVID-19. What keeps me going is knowing that despite our present circumstances, God is sovereign and in control,” said Dr. Eva.

As the Executive Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, the greatest obstacle Dr. Eva currently faces is accepting that she cannot always be physically where the action is. This is due to her lung condition which puts her in the high-risk category for COVID-19.

With the aid of technology, however, she can perform all her crucial work. She oversees the NIH COVID-19 Testing Laboratory operations, trains Genetics fellows using the telegenetics platform, and coordinates UP’s training assistance to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). She also meets with donors and constituents online, serves as a keynote speaker in webinars, and even presents in the Senate public hearing on education and health.

Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz is a Professor 10 of the College of Medicine and Executive Director of the National Institutes of Health both in University of the Philippines Manila. She also serves as Director for the Health Program of the Philippine Genome Center. She was named one of the 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos.

It took a village to build a COVID-19 Testing Lab

The UP Manila National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) name has been doing rounds in the media recently, and rightly so. The institution is one of the first responders to the country’s call for an expanded COVID-19 testing capacity.

All hands were on deck as, within a span of two laborious weeks, Dr. Eva and her fellow doctors set up the stringent measures required for a testing laboratory. They immediately started testing for COVID-19 upon passing the necessary assessments.

Indeed, the NIH offered a silver lining just when the country needed it most. Dr. Eva has this to say about the work that her institution has achieved, “The NIH responded quickly and appropriately when the country needed testing labs at the start of the pandemic. It also had a mindset to be resourceful and always find a way to serve the testing needs of patients in the hospitals and quarantine centers.”

Frontliners working hard at the UP National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Testing Laboratory

Putting up the laboratory, however, was only half the battle. During its first weeks of operation, the laboratory was efficiently run by around 30 volunteer staff from the NIH Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) who, despite their willingness to focus on the undertaking, all had to return to their respective projects after a certain period. This need for manpower prompted NIH to hire new staff who now comprise the new COVID-19 Testing Team through the Human Resource for Health Program of DOH.

The Laboratory frontliner volunteers who helped make sure that the UP NIH COVID-19 Testing Laboratory is ready to serve the people’s testing needs

Further, the laboratory does not have any budget of its own to perform the COVID-19 testing. Despite this, the team has conducted over 20,000 tests to date and not charged a single centavo. This was possible through the outpouring of support from the DOH, RITM, Philippine General Hospital, and several private donors that came in the form of swabs, kits, and other supplies crucial to testing. They were able to serve the PGH patients as well as 29 other hospitals and community quarantine centers within their area.

Receiving donations which help support the operations of the testing laboratory

Equipping a league of front liners

The abilities to test, trace, and treat are vital in curbing the spread of the pandemic. Aside from expanding the capability of existing laboratories and building new ones across the regions, proper training is required to equip all personnel who will handle the COVID-19 testing.

This is where the NIH as well as other UP institutes and centers also came in. Dr. Eva, together with volunteer faculty and research assistants from the NIH National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity (NTCBB), UP Diliman NIMBB and UP Philippine Genome Center (PGC), created online modules for the DOH and RITM training assistance program. The online modules cover two important areas: biosafety and molecular biology techniques.

The Biosafety Education and Awareness Training (BEAT COVID-19) is designed to provide core concepts of basic biosafety and biosecurity practices including risk assessment, bio-containment facilities, as well as basics of personal protective equipment (PPEs), disinfection, sterilization and decontamination, and waste management of biological material.

The DOH designated the NIH NTCBB to be the training provider. To date, the training has graduated more than 2,688 trainees nationwide, many of whom are already employed as laboratorians in different accredited laboratories.

The UP COLlab, on the other hand, is the online learning lab for RT-PCR testing. This online course is composed of lectures designed to provide the conceptual framework as well as overview of the testing workflow and protocols needed to perform the RT-PCR based diagnostic test for COVID-19. This is then followed by hands-on training.

It has been provided by the University for free, along with food and training materials. The DOH has recognized these efforts and is now funding the implementation.

Combating this pandemic has truly necessitated concerted action. Dr. Eva believes that fortitude will also help Filipinos confront this health crisis. “We all need to be resilient—able to cope with adversity and use challenges to forge strength and prosperity. Although we are still in the middle of abnormal times, we should still be moving forward to find best ways to provide better health care for the next generation,” she said.

Dr. Eva’s story, as well the stories of other individuals and institutions dedicating their energy to combat the pandemic, tells the power of solidarity and shared purpose. The fight may be far from over but hope persists—it lies in every Filipino driven to extend a helping hand.

Since its inception, the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), through the annual Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, has sought to uphold a culture of excellence by recognizing exemplary public servants in the academe, military, and police sectors. Last November 2019, we launched the 2020 cycle of the OF Award, and conducted a nationwide series of information campaigns and nominations to search this year’s batch of laudable teachers, soldiers, and police officers.

In the midst of these activities, we suddenly find ourselves confronted by the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic that has adversely affected every Filipino’s lives. We thus took the necessary measures and followed protocols in containing the spread of the virus.

While alternative solutions were considered to carry out the proceeding phases of the Award, and even as we acknowledged the hard work of everyone who submitted their nominations, our continuous monitoring of our national situation has brought us to a difficult decision to defer the 2020 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos. We believe that the health and safety of everyone takes precedence during these challenging times.

We will wait for the right time for the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos Award to return. Until then, we stand in solidarity with the government, all sectors, and the Filipino people in seeing an end to this pandemic.

Should you have other questions regarding this decision, please contact us through all our social media accounts. You may also send an email to

MBFI is praying for everyone to remain healthy and safe. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) held separate turnover ceremonies on May 15 to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) for its P1.84 million worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donation. Held at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo and Camp Rafael Crame in Quezon City, respectively, the donation includes 109,200 pairs of surgical gloves and 10,000 N95 masks which will benefit more than 12,000 AFP and PNP frontliners tasked to implement community protocols in this time of the pandemic.

MBFI executive director Nicanor Torres Jr. led the turnover ceremonies at the AFP grounds through the presence of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos, and 2015 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino (OF) Soldiers AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics RAdm. Alberto Carlos and AFP Adjutant General BGen. Maxima Ignacio.

“The AFP extends its gratitude to the MBFI in the battle against COVID-19. Their sincere desire to help the country’s imperilled frontliners continue to inspire soldiers on the ground to better perform their duties towards winning the fight against the dreaded virus,” expressed Gen. Santos.

On the other hand, PNP Chief Archie Gamboa, PNP Directorate for Logistics Director P/MGen. Edwin Roque, PNP Directorate for Logistics Deputy Director P/BGen. Domingo Cabillan and 2018 OF Police Officer PNP Logistics Support Service Director P/BGen. Pascual Muñoz received the donation.

“The global community, on their part, has come together to spread love and kindness through volunteer work and support through donation of the much needed Personal Protective Equipment. In the Philippines, we are proud to have Metrobank Foundation in our midst, to partner with the Philipine National Police in our COVID-19 response through their donation,” said P/BGen. Muñoz.

Earlier in April, 2,000 sets of PPEs consisting of hazardous material suits, face shields, N95 masks, gloves, and shoe covers were donated to Victoriano Luna General Hospital, Veterans Memorial Medical Center and PNP General Hospital in Quezon City. AFP and PNP institutions are valued institutional partners of MBFI in the implementation of its corporate social responsibility initiatives. Annually, MBFI recognizes exemplary teachers, soldiers and police officers for rendering service beyond their call of duties through OF.

The donation is part of the P200 million pledge by Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings Group to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; support for the production of testing kits through the UP National Institutes of Health; ‘Project Ugnayan’ led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; set-up of a molecular laboratory for the testing of cases through the Philippine Red Cross; and project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of GoNegosyo (Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation).

Photos courtesy of PNP and AFP PIO.

Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepeña (rightmost) and Department of Education (DepEd) Curriculum and Instruction Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio (leftmost) confer the Metrobank Foundation Fellows in Public Service title to 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Teachers Dr. Cristina Cristobal (second to the left) and Dr. Dorothy Tarol last Feb. 12 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Complex, Pasig City.

Newly conferred Metrobank Foundation Fellows in Public Service proposed to restore Philippine History in the high school curriculum and mainstream inclusive instruction to Department of Education (DepEd) officials and members of the academe last February 12 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Complex, Pasig City.

Veteran history teacher and 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Dr. Cristina Cristobal presented the need to revive Philippine History in high school, a subject previously removed by DepEd in the K-12 program. She also proposed the inclusion of teaching Philippine Government and Constitution for a school year, a bid she successfully pushed for in the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System’s social science curriculum.

“Many of our students lack affection for history because of the traditional method that is used, but perhaps there is a way to love history. We’re not only teaching them facts, we want them to become critical thinkers,” said Dr. Cristobal.

The legacy of Dr. Cristobal, Quezon City’s Veteran Innovator in History Instruction, in PSHS can be best captured by her initiative to inspire changes to the students’ perspective towards learning history. She believes exposing students to primary sources provides evidence-based approach to learning.

Another 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino and special education teacher Dr. Dorothy Tarol, meanwhile, proposed the mainstreaming of her action research on inclusive instruction nationwide. Entitled “Buddy-Mediated Instruction (BMI): Pivotal Strategy for Spelling and Social Skills for Students with Hearing Impairment,” the study aims to develop a student’s basic literacy skills through pairing of two “buddies” who engage in learner initiated-activities.

According to Dr. Tarol, she hopes to “help teachers by sharing information about evidence-based instructional strategy for struggling readers by creating reading literacy experiences relevant to students’ interests, everyday life and to current environmental events.” BMI, as an instructional strategy, also became a benchmark model in DepEd Divisions of Iloilo and Iloilo City and was already replicated by around 178 schools.

Dubbed as Western Visayas’ Paragon of Inclusive Education, Dr. Tarol has shifted her teaching career to cater to students with disabilities at the Special Education-Integrated School for Exceptional Children in Iloilo City. She has since devoted her life’s work onto shaping an environment conducive for learners of all kinds.

Both proposals were deliberated in a roundtable discussion with Curriculum and Instruction Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio, Assistant Secretary Alma Ruby Torio and officers from the DepEd Bureau of Education Assessment, Alternative Learning System Program Task Force, National Educator’s Academy of the Philippines, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and PSHS.

Through the Metrobank Foundation Fellowship in Public Service, professional milestones and personal life stories of the awardees are brought to the fore. Achievements that result to positive change and innovations that address major societal concerns are highlighted and widely shared.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) was recognized as “Philanthropic Foundation of the Year” (Profiles in Excellence Award) during the 72nd anniversary celebration of the American Association of the Philippines (AAP) on February 29, 2020 at the Manila Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel Manila in Pasay City.

Photo shows MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña (center) accepting the recognition from AAP chairman Rick Sobreviñas (6th from right) joined by wife Anna Sobrepeña (6th from left); Metrobank executive vice president Vivian Lee-Tiu (3rd from left); Metrobank senior vice president Digs Dimagiba (3rd from right); Metrobank vice president and MBFI executive committee member Joey Mapa III (5th from right); Metrobank assistant vice president Zarah Hernandez (4th from left), and MBFI assistant executive director Irene Labitad (4th from right).

AAP has always been in the forefront of American-Filipino relations for over half a century. It has established strong ties with the expat American community, returning Filipino-Americans who resettled back in the country, and the Philippine government. It continues to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of its members and key business and community leaders who are making a difference globally.

Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) president Aniceto Sobrepeña (3rd from right), together with MBFI assistant executive director Irene Labitad (2nd from left), and MBFI Unit heads present the Anvil trophies earned during the awarding ceremony.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) took home the Hall of Fame Award including one (1) Gold Anvil and three (3) Silver Anvil at the recent 55th Anvil Awards held on February 28, 2020 at The Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, City of Manila.

Considered as the Oscars of public relations industry in the Philippines, the Anvil is the symbol of excellence in public relations awarded by distinguished multi-sectoral jury to outstanding public relations programs and tools, organized by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP).

The heads of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines present the awards to MBFI heads and staff during the 55th Anvil Awards Gabi ng Parangal.

MBFI during that night took home its third “Hall of Fame” award for spearheading the “National Teachers’ Month (NTM).” A movement led by MBFI and the Department of Education, NTM recognizes Filipino teachers and educators for their contribution to national development. It also aims to intensify all efforts in recognizing the indispensable role of Filipino teachers in shaping minds across generations. NTM is annually celebrated for an entire month from September 5 to October 5.

The Hall of Fame Award is given to a company or organization that won the Gold Anvil Award five (5) times for a program or tool in the same category, not necessarily in consecutive years. In 2016 and 2018, MBFI received the Hall of Fame award for Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) and Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC), respectively.

The Excellence Awards Unit of MBFI, the implementing body of the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos and Metrobank Foundation Fellowship in Public Service with their Silver and Gold Anvil trophies.

MBFI also bagged a Gold Anvil trophy for the “2019 Metrobank Foundation Fellowship in Public Service,” a venue where professional milestones and personal life stories of Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos are brought to the fore. Achievements that result to positive change and innovations that address major societal concerns are highlighted and widely-shared.

Meanwhile, another public relations program and two institutional events of MBFI earned Silver Anvil trophies. The first Silver Anvil went to its flagship program – Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos– that recognizes exemplary teachers, soldiers, and police officers for rendering service above and beyond their call of duties, guided by the theme “Beyond Excellence.” An Outstanding Filipino is recognized for his/her exemplary qualities that have inspired and influenced their peers in their respective professions. Their works have lasting positive impact on people and to the country.

The Art & Design Unit– implementer of the annual Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE)—and Corporate Communications Unit of MBFI showcase their accolades received during the awarding ceremony.

Another Silver Anvil was bestowed upon “Puso at Sigasig (Heart & Zeal): Metrobank Foundation’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.” With the theme Puso at Sigasig (Heart & Zeal), MBFI celebrated its 40th founding anniversary last February 21, 2019. The celebration did not only highlight the Metrobank Foundation’s heart for community, but also showcased its zeal through advocacies sustained, partnerships built, communities empowered, and lives changed.

The last recipient of Silver Anvil is “UNLEASH: 2020 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE)’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.” Unleash is the result of a three-year build-up to the 35th anniversary of MADE: “Imagine” in 2017 and “Discover” in 2018. The theme follows the narrative of the artistic process: of art being “unleashed” into the world to articulate the milieu of the times. A three-day celebration of the local art scene, Unleash was split into four parts: Vernissage, MADE Awarding, Exhibit Opening, and the Lecture Series on Philippine Arts and Cultural Heritage. Each event engages with up-and-coming artists, special interest groups, and connoisseurs.

MBFI has been winning Anvil awards since 1985. To date, it has won 88 Anvil awards for its various programs and public relations tools, including the much coveted Grand Anvil gaining the record as the first corporate foundation to win a back-to-back Grand Anvil (2009 and 2010) and 2 Platinum Anvils in the history of the award-giving body.

The search for exemplary Filipino public servants continues—the nomination for the 2020 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos (OF) is now open.

Ten (10) Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos in the academe, military, and police will be recognized for demonstrating service above and beyond the call of their duty. Four (4) teachers, 3 soldiers, and 3 police officers will receive PhP 1 million worth of cash incentive, a trophy, and a gold medallion and will be honored during Metrobank’s 58th anniversary celebration in September 2020.

The 10 awardees will also be conferred the title “Metrobank Foundation Fellows in Public Service” and will be provided the opportunity to share their expertise and best practices through lectures across the country.

“We are looking for individuals who embody the words ‘Beyond Excellence’. This means that they are models of excellence in their professions and of service in their communities,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. “The combination of their accomplishments and character provide inspiration among their institutions and fellow Filipinos towards the shared pursuit of nation-building,” he added.

The search is held in partnership with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, Rotary Club of Makati Metro, Philippine Savings Bank, and Rotary Club of New Manila East.

Read the full guidelines via and access the nomination forms via bit.lyOFAward2020.

Deadline for nominations is on December 27, 2019. Visit the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos Facebook Page for more information.


When a soldier takes oath to serve the country, he upholds to perform with honor to secure the land and serve the people. This means that a soldier has to prioritize his responsibility to the motherland over his own life — even his family. To be a soldier is to be a hero, naturally.

Thus, every year, the Metrobank Foundation awards exemplary military personnel, who are considered the most heroic among heroes in the sector. These soldiers embody the ultimate faith, dedication and grit as they overcome daily challenges in the line of duty.

This year, the three honorees are: Master Sergeant Ramil Caporas PA, Team Supervisor/EOD Technician, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, Army Support Command, Philippine Army (Camp Servillano S. Aquino, Capas, Tarlac); Major Romulo Dimayuga II PN(M), Former Operations and Training Officer, Force Reconnaissance Group, Headquarters Philippine Marine Corps (Fort Bonifacio Taguig City); and Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Baldomar PA, Chief, Current Operations Branch, Internal Security Operations Division (ISOD), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, Armed Forces of the Philippines (Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City).


“My source of fulfillment as a soldier is when I can render safe or defuse a bomb without any harm, accomplish my mission to serve the people and secure the land, and go home to my family safe and sound,” expressed Caporas.

He was deployed in Marawi for the whole duration of the combat and led a team of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts tasked to recover and dispose Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) during the five-month battle. Their expertise resulted in the recovery and proper disposal of over 1,000 IEDs, ensuring the safety of the troops inside the war zone.

Caporas was able to use raw materials available in the area to create an explosive, called “Bintana,” which was instrumental to the assaulting troops. The frame-like contraption was used to breach walls of buildings, which served as staging points of attack for government forces while under hostile enemy fire.

Outside high-risk operations, Caporas conducts IED Recognition and Safety Awareness trainings and Bomb Threat Management seminars.


“The sad side of being true to my sworn duty… Not being able to be with loved ones and losing them without us by their side because duty calls can be very painful. All of us soldiers have this strong commitment to this noble profession — others first before ourselves,” said Dimayuga as he remembered not being at his father’s side when he passed away.

His father, a former soldier, was nevertheless the key that triggered his passion for serving the country, and continues to be one of his strong motivations to create a difference in his own way.

In 2006, his leadership as a platoon commander of a Force Recon Platoon in Sulu was key to crippling the top leadership of the most notorious terrorist group in the country. Meanwhile, his stints as Intelligence Officer of Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 and Operations Officer of Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 from 2013 to 2014 and 2017 to 2018, respectively, marked his crucial role in the successful counter-communist insurgency operations against lawless groups in Northern Palawan. In 2014, Palawan was declared “Zone of Sustained Peace, Development and Prosperity.”


“I believe this is my purpose: to serve others and fight for those who cannot defend themselves. Every time I go out to do my job, I always think that I am doing this so that my family and the Filipino people would peacefully sleep while I and the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines are standing on the line fighting for their safety.”

Baldomar’s heart for the people is best reflected in the initiative he spearheaded back in 2001, when he was assigned with Bravo Company, 37th Infantry Battalion, 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and subsequently became its Company Commander. In this capacity, he rallied his troop in responding to the plight of the 95 internally displaced Tiruray families at Sitio Kyamko (Hill 224), Barangay Maitumaig, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao.

Years after helping the tribe become a self-sufficient community, Baldomar together with a few volunteers helped in shaping the next breed of leaders of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) through the “Transforming Leaders Initiative,” a transformation initiative that was eventually adopted by the International Graduate School of Leadership to be part of its leadership program.

* * *
On the occasion of Metrobank’s 57th anniversary, it honors another batch of exemplary teachers, soldiers and police officers. By fostering excellence and paying tribute to these professions, more Filipinos are encouraged to dream big and achieve more in life. Through the promise of meaningful banking, more dreams can turn into reality.


By May Dedicatoria

Be it a doctor, artist or an engineer, no one becomes a fine professional without the tutelage of selfless teachers back in one’s youth. Being the children’s second parents, teachers are tasked to mold the students and help shape the society. In time for the celebration of National Teachers’ Month, four teachers who prove that teaching is a vital foundation in nation-building comprised this year’s Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos.

The four honorees in the academic sector are: Dorothy Tarol, Ph.D., Master Teacher II, Special Education-Integrated School for Exceptional Children (SPED-ISEC) (Iloilo City); Cristina Cristobal, Ph.D., Special Science Teacher 5, Philippine Science High School Main Campus (Quezon City); Ricardo Jose, Ph.D., Professor 12, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman (Quezon City); and Eva Maria Cutiongco-de la Paz, M.D., Professor 10, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila (City of Manila).


Iloilo-based teacher Tarol’s story reflects her solid stance on inclusive education. Progressively losing her hearing at 35, she has shifted her teaching career to cater to students with disabilities at the Special Education-Integrated School for Exceptional Students (SPED-ISEC) in Iloilo City.

She is best recognized for writing and implementing in 2011 an action research entitled Buddy-Mediated Instruction (BMI): Pivotal Strategy for Spelling and Social Skills for Students with Hearing Impairment, which aims to develop a student’s basic literacy skills. Tarol also advocates for equal career opportunities for persons with disabilities. In 2007, she co-founded an organization registered as the Association of Late-deafened, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing for Education, Advocacy, Research and Support (ALDHEARS). She holds a Master Teacher II position at SPED-ISEC since 2015, and is a registered guidance counselor.


The legacy of Cristobal at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) can be best captured by her initiative to inspire changes to the students’ perspective towards learning history. She introduced a teaching strategy that requires grade 7 learners to use primary sources in studying history.

The approach provides opportunities for students to analyze documents, review data and construct historical narratives firsthand — a deviation from the traditional learning through textbooks and memorization. Outside the system, Cristobal actively engages in providing teacher-training for Islamic teachers. Together with Ateneo de Davao University, she organized Buklod Guro, a program where best teaching practices of PSHS teachers are shared to madaris (Islamic schools) in several schools across Mindanao.


Jose, an acclaimed historian, has spent 40 years filling the gaps in the country’s past, more profoundly on the subjects of Philippine diplomatic history, Philippine military history, the Philippines under the US’ colonial rule, and the tie between the Philippines and Japan.

Tagged as the country’s foremost scholar on World War II in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific, Jose has produced a body of work that serves as the foundational literature on the study of the Second World War. To many of Jose’s generations of students, he is often remembered as someone who would bring historical artifacts such as helmets, air raid sirens, and yellowing photographs during class discussions.


De la Paz, a professor at UP Manila and executive director of the National Institutes of Health, has dedicated her 22 years in the teaching profession to a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes called genomics.

She has successfully led a special research project under the Commission on Higher Education – Philippine California Advanced Research Institutes (CHED-PCARI) — the newly inaugurated Shared Genomics Core Laboratory at the Philippine Genome Center in UP Diliman. This houses state-of-the-art genomic sequencing equipment that can significantly accelerate and expand discoveries run by Filipinos for their fellow Filipinos.

It is a valuable resource for higher educational institutions in their pursuit of higher learning and discovery, especially in the emerging fields of genomics to advance genomic medicine, to harness genomic information for food security and to better understand the genetic makeup of Filipinos.

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On the occasion of Metrobank’s 57th anniversary, it honors another batch of exemplary teachers, soldiers and police officers. By fostering excellence and paying tribute to these professions, more Filipinos are encouraged to dream big and achieve more in life. Through the promise of meaningful banking, more dreams can turn into reality.

Metrobank Foundation, Inc.

10th floor, Annex Building
Metrobank Plaza, Sen Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City 1200

(02) 8857-9746 / (02) 8898-8855
(02) 8818-5656 / (02) 8750-0837


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