The Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) recently conducted the 19th Graduates’ Forum for the 91 graduates of its managed scholarship program. The event is conducted annually to recognize the academic and non-academic achievements of the Foundation’s outstanding graduates. This year’s ninety-one graduates were awarded by Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña (7th from left) and Metrobank president Fabian Dee (6th from left).
The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), together with the GT Foundation, Inc., recognized this year’s batch of scholar graduates during the 19th Graduates’ Forum, held last June 23 and 24, 2017 at the Metrobank Plaza and at the University of Sto. Tomas Auditorium, respectively. With the theme “#PayIt4Ward: Service to 4Cs,” the event aims to highlight what makes a Metrobank scholar different—his or her commitment to serve Creator, Clan, Community and Country.
This year, a total of 91 scholars finished their undergraduate degrees, representing 21 universities and colleges across the country. They are the recipients of the following scholarship programs: MBFI Manila Tytana Colleges-Youth for Excellence and Service (YES); MBFI-Pacific Paint (Boysen); Fluor-MBFI; ACCESS II (Assistance for the Completion of College Education for Superior Students); including graduates under the scholarship programs of GTFI. Out of the 91 scholars, 23 finished with Latin honors and were conferred with Metrobank Medals and Certificates of Academic Excellence. Merla Nugas, a BS Information Technology graduate from the University of the East, finished Summa Cum Laude. Meanwhile, a total of 6 scholars finished Magna Cum Laude and 16 graduated Cum Laude.
The two-day event was designed to inspire graduates with the value of giving back as they begin their professional careers. The 4Cs—Creator, Clan, Community and Country—outlines how scholars can pay forward the blessings they have received. Noting that millenials are often branded as the ‘selfie’ generation, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña challenged the graduates “to think beyond yourselves and focus your energies to worthwhile endeavors that build the nation.” He encouraged them to offer everything to God, support their families, contribute to the well-being of communities, and serve the country.
Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Nugas expressed gratitude for the help they received and for the experiences that molded them. She called on her fellow scholars to make a difference in the lives of others, saying that “Receiving our diplomas does not mean it is the end of our respective journeys. In fact, it is the beginning of a journey towards a greater purpose. Now is the time to work together for the betterment of our country.”
For the first day, a series of activities followed the awarding ceremony. During “Where Youthful Energy meet Lifelong Experience”, executives from the Metrobank Group of Companies gave tips over lunch to the new graduates related to the professional world. Scholars also shared stories of their life’s journey and of the people who helped them along the way. They outlined their future plans on vision boards to guide their next steps in life.
On the second day, scholars gathered for a series of team-building activities. The major highlight was the activity entitled “I’m A Hero, You’re a Hero, We are All Heroes,” which gave them the chance to reflect on their individual heroic deeds and their personal heroes. They also listened to inspirational talks by Sabrina Ongkiko, an Ateneo de Manila University alumna now teaching at a public elementary school, and tax advocate Raymond Abrea, Chief Strategy Officer at the Abrea Consulting Group. Scholars were then encouraged to write their commitments on serving the country in their own way.
Always seeking to improve herself, Merla Nugas successfully balanced her academic life with extracurricular activities and other commitments. She envisions herself as a leader at the forefront of innovation in the Philippines. Her dream is to build a startup that will create technology products for the benefit of her countrymen.
Among this year’s standout graduates is Rolyne Dominique Patron, a BS Accountancy student from Ateneo De Zamboanga University who finished Magna Cum Laude. She helped organize activities such as Operation Shoebox Campaign, where she led fellow scholars in distributing sets of school supplies to children all over the Zamboanga peninsula. Patron dreams of becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner so that she can be an agent of positive change in the corporate world.
For his part, Ronald Gil Bilang (BS Petroleum Engineering, Palawan State University) did not let the financial losses suffered by his family during the 2013 Zamboanga Siege affect his desire to finish his studies while serving others. A Youth Ambassador for Japan’s JENESYS Program, he also worked with the Department of Health to set up a medicinal garden for fire victims and conduct seminars on preparation of herbal medicine. Bilang envisions himself contributing to the promotion of renewable energy in the country.
Every year, the Foundation stages the Graduates’ Forum to recognize the academic and non- academic undertakings of its promising graduates from different scholarship programs. Reflecting Metrobank Group Chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty’s commitment to nurture the country’s future leaders, the two day-long event allows graduates to thank their benefactors and interact with their fellow scholars.
Since 1995, the College Scholarship Program has been awarding financial grants to support deserving students through college. To date, the program has produced over 986 graduates in collaboration with its partner institutions and schools.For more information on MBFI’s scholarship programs, please visit www.http://www.mbfoundation.org.ph.
Winners of the 2017 Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC) national finals held last April 22, 2016. They were awarded by (top row) MBFI executive vice president Elvira Ong-Chan (6th from left), MTAP president Sr. Iluminada Coronel (7th from left), Manila Tytana Colleges president Dr. Sergio Cao (8th from left), and MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña (9th from left). First placers for Grade 6 (top row) are Rickson Caleb Tan (1st from left), Kian Colin Chua (3rd from left), and Chiara Bernadette Tan-Gatue (5th from left). The Grade 10 first placers (bottom row) are Christian Philip Gelera (2nd from left) and Margareth Esther Cruz (4th from left).The country’s math geniuses competed during the national finals of the 2017 Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC) National Finals, held last April 22, 2017 at the Metrobank Plaza Auditorium in Makati City. Out of the 572,916 students who competed in the nationwide elimination rounds, 44 students representing 29 public and private schools successfully met the “hurdle rate” in their scores leading them to advance to the final leg of the MMC. The national finals showcased the mathematical competence of Grade 6 and Grade 10 students who competed in individual and team categories. The challenge consisted of solving complex mathematical problems mentally within 15 seconds and additional rounds of 30-second and one-minute questions using pen and paper. As the first math competition in the Philippines to use technology that leads to faster generation of contest results, the MMC provides national finalists with tablet computers, through which they send answers directly to the judges, who then immediately mark them as “correct” or “wrong”. Out of the 29 competing schools, 9 have produced their first ever national finalist. They are Ilocos Sur National High School (Vigan City), College of the Holy Spirit of Tarlac (Tarlac City), Maliwalo High School (Tarlac City); De La Salle University Integrated School (Biñan City); Palawan State University Laboratory Elementary School (Puerto Princesa City); Binalbagan Catholic College High School Department (Binalbagan, Negros Occidental); Mary Infant Jesus School (Iligan City); Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology Integrated Development School (Iligan City); Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (General Santos City); and Palanan Elementary School (Makati City). Winners were awarded by Guest of Honor Dr. Sergio Cao, Manila Tytana Colleges (MTC) president, who also delivered an inspirational message to inspire the young audience; MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña; and MTAP president Sr. Illuminada C. Coronel. They were also joined by MBFI executive vice president Elvira Ong-Chan. Rickson Caleb Tan of MGC New Life Christian Academy (Taguig City) was the first placer in the Grade 6 Individual Competition, while Evgeny Cruz of Palanan Elementary School (Makati City) and Sigfred Kerwayne Kwan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School (Zamboanga City) were second and third placers, respectively. For the Grade 6 Team Competition, Kian Colin Chua and Chiara Bernadette Tan-Gatue of St. Jude Catholic School (City of Manila) were the 1st placers. James Ryan Saluta and Cris Adrielle Abrea of Butuan City Special Education Center (Butuan City) placed 2nd while Evgeny Cruz and Gichelle Miracle Burwell of Palanan Elementary School (Makati City) were 3rd. For the Grade 10 Individual Competition, Christian Philip Gelera of Philippine Science High School-Main Campus (Quezon City) was the 1st placer, while Sean Anderson Ty of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School (Zamboanga City) settled at 2nd and Jan Vincent Simbol of BHS Educational Institution, Inc. (Baguio City) placed 3rd. In the Grade 10 Team Competition, Christian Philip Gelera and Margareth Esther Cruz of Philippine Science High School-Main Campus (Quezon City) were the 1st placers. Sean Anderson Ty and Vicente Raphael Chan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School (Zamboanga City) placed 2nd while Cris Jericho Cruz and Dominic Yap of Philippine Science High School-Western Visayas Campus (Iloilo City) were 3rd. Sobrepeña congratulated the winners for “their willingness to try new methods and persevere through ‘failures’.” He underscored the competition’s impact, saying that, “By providing a venue for friendly competition, the Metrobank Math Challenge has instilled in our youth the values of teamwork, persistence, and analytical thinking.” National winners received trophies, medals, and cash prizes which are as follows: P25,000 for the 1st placer, P20,000 for the 2nd placer, and P15,000 for the 3rd placer in the Grade 6 category while P50,000 was given to the 1st placer, P40,000 for the 2nd placer and P30,000 for the 3rd placer in the Grade 10 category amounting to a total of P540,000 worth of cash prizes. Part of the cash prize received by the winners allowed them to open a special savings account with the Metrobank Fun Savers Club, designed for kids 17 years and below. This encourages young members to save for their own future. Meanwhile, all national finalists received giveaways sponsored by MTC, Casio Philippines, The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Anvil Publishing, Philippine Science Centrum, Active Fun Children’s Play and Party Centers, Tom’s World, Enchanted Kingdom, and the Primer Group of Companies. Other cooperating institutions include Itemhound, Expert Ideas and Trends, City Garden Hotel Makati, and Pronto Express Distribution. Now on its 16th year, MMC is the most widely participated math competition in the country among elementary and high school students. The annual Math Challenge produces national winners who get to compete and eventually win in international competitions. Among them are Farrell Eldrian Wu and Kyle Patrick Dulay who reaped the first gold medals of the Philippines at the recent 57th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Hong Kong.
PNP Chief Police Director General Dela Rosa with the Metrobank Foundation Inc.–Rotary Club of New Manila East and PSBank COPS during the 5th General Assembly of P.R.O.T.E.C.T. in Camp Crame, Quezon City (Photo from PNP)PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa graced the 5th General Assembly of the P.R.O.T.E.C.T. (Police Officers Responsible for Organizing, Transforming and Empowering Communities), the alumni organization of the awardees of the Metrobank Foundation-Rotary Club of New Manila East and PSBank search for the Country’s Outstanding Police Officers in Service (COPS) on March 1, 2017 at the PNP Multi Purpose Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. The Police Chief praised all PNP key officers and members of PROTECT who have shown excellence and contributed in reforming the institution with its efforts in curbing drugs and criminality in their communities. “I believe that PROTECT will be a big help to the PNP, especially in the internal cleansing program which is now among our top priorities. You are the exemplars of courage, outstanding work and integrity in the service. You embody the ideals of service, honor and justice and I hope that you will help the PNP leadership re-ignite these ideals in the hearts of our police personnel as they continue to perform their mandated duties.” said Gen. De la Rosa. “Looking back, it’s been 9 years since the establishment of the alumni organization in 2008. We are happy to note that P.R.O.T.E.C.T. has made strides in terms of its pay-it-forward initiatives in the recent years.” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. “Our excellence recognition programs are not only designed to foster and propagate a culture of excellence in the sectors of academe, military, and police through your stories as modern-day heroes, but also to cascade your insights and best practices to the greater public and make them the next diffence-makers” he added. Among those applauded by Gen. De la Rosa were Quezon City Police District Chief, Police Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar; PNP ARMM Deputy Regional Director for Administration, Police Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson; and Chief Directorial Staff of the PNP Finance Service, Police Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac. Meanwhile, re-elected P.R.O.T.E.C.T. president Police Chief Superintendent Gilbert Cruz who sits at helm of the Police-Community Relations Group of the PNP gave a full report about the different involvements of P.R.O.T.E.C.T. in recent years such as visits in different public schools in the metro and dissemination of PNP advisories through the use of interactive police and criminal mascots. Furthermore, P.R.O.T.E.C.T. members were also given the opportunity to share their own accomplishments in strengthening the branding of the alumni organization in their respective communities like Senior Police Officer 4 Tejanne Zarsozo of the Cabadbaran City Police Station. SPO4 Zarsozo spearheaded a mobile cinema “Protect, Feed, Save” project that raises awareness against social ills, tells stories and feeds hungry street children. “We are happy that we are helping and saving many street children in our community. We are also hoping that this project will continue to inspire other PNP units to follow.” said SPO4 Zarsozo. In 2008, COPS awardees have organized themselves into an association that aims to promote responsible citizenship not only in the PNP but in their respective communities as well. Among the P.R.O.T.E.C.T. members are PNP Director for Operations, Police Director Camilo Cascolan; PNP Deputy Director of Internal Affairs Service, Police Director Leo Angelo Leuterio; Police Region 7 Office Police Police Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño; Directorate for Information Technology and Communications Management Police Superintendent Alfred Corpus; PNP Public Information Office Chief, Police Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos; Police Chief Superintendent Federico Laciste Jr.; and Police Director Alex Monteagudo, now Director General at the National Intelligence Coordinating Council.
Vice President Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo (center), was awarded the 2017 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service and Governance, after her lecture at the Ateneo Professorial Schools in Makati last March 14, 2017. With her in the photo are (from left to right) Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña and Dr. Antonette Palma Angeles, Vice President for the Ateneo Professional Schools.As chairholder of the 2017 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service and Governance, Vice President Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo delivered a lecture on “Tsinelas Leadership as Vehicle for Empathy and Hope” on March 14, 2017 at the Ateneo Professional Schools Auditorium in Makati City. “Has democracy failed the world’s poor?” This was the question Robredo posed to her audience, which was mostly composed of students, faculty, and members of civil society groups. She cited how poverty remains a big challenge despite the steady growth of the Philippine economy in recent years. The Vice President noted that she believes in continuing “the unfinished task of democracy —that of deepening the empowerment of every human being.” She noted that this is where tsinelas leadership, a term coined in reference to her late husband Jesse’s brand of leadership, comes in. “For Jesse, it was critical that power was shared back with the people,” Robredo said. She added that the tsinelas “was a powerful symbol of his desire to keep everything simple and to serve as close to the ground as possible.” She highlighted the current efforts of her office to apply the same principles to their Angat Buhay anti-poverty program. Linking development organizations and the business sector to 50 of the poorest towns in the country, Robredo said that they involve the people in developing sustainable projects for their communities. “As a result, they feel empowered, and they own their projects. They are no longer mere beneficiaries, but now become partners and stakeholders. The success rate is higher when the people themselves are involved,” she observed. Robredo noted that “tsinelas leadership is truly the vehicle for empathy and the hope that we so desperately need today.” She added, “Given time, it can heal our nation from frustration—because it gives people their voice and brings government close to the people.” A joint undertaking between Metrobank Foundation and Ateneo de Manila University, the professorial chair seeks to give due recognition to public servants who are exemplary models of leadership and professionalism. It aims to strengthen the pillars of our government by furthering research and educating the citizenry on public-interest issues. Since its establishment in 2000, the title has been awarded to advocates of good governance including Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and former Social Work and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales (center), awarded the 2016 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service and Governance, after her lecture at the Ateneo Professorial Schools in Makati With her in the photo are (from left to right) Rodolfo P. Ang, Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business; Atty. Jaime Hofileña, Vice President for Social Development of Ateneo de Manila University; Antonio La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government; Atty Arlene Lapuz-Ureta, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Metrobank; Aniceto Sobrepeña, President of Metrobank Foundation; Dr. Antonette Palma Angeles, Vice President for the Ateneo Professional Schools; Atty. Ma. Tanya Karina Lat, Ateneo Law School Coordinator for Student Formation; Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria, Dean of the Ateneo Law School; and Dr. Manuel Dayrit, Dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.As chairholder of the 2016 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service and Governance, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales delivered a lecture on “Building a Corruption Intolerant Society and Sustaining an Intergenerational National Anti-Corruption Agenda” on February 16, 2016 at the Ateneo Professional Schools Auditorium in Makati City. Morales discussed the various initiatives being undertaken by the Office of the Ombudsman to strengthen its institutional capacity. A National Integrity Center has been set up as its education arm, helping develop the skills of its more than 1,200-strong workforce. Efforts have also been made to increase efficiency in its work such as rationalizing functions among its various bureaus, filtering the intake of complaints filed with the Office, and assessing processes of key government for vulnerability to corruption. She noted that these efforts resulted in a total of 6,707 administrative and criminal cases resolved for 2015. The number of cases awaiting action by the court decreased by 16% despite a 2% increase in new cases filed. The Ombudsman is targeting to reduce its case backlog to zero before Morales’ term ends in 2018. Recognizing that the most important stakeholder in the battle against corruption is the Filipino public, the Ombudsman made steps to mobilize broader support for its work. The National Anti-Corruption Framework was completed and adopted on December 15 last year during the 3rd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Accreditation guidelines were also strengthened for civil society and student organization partners, and customized training modules developed. “One does not need to be a member of the civil service or to hold an appointive or elective post in government to be a public servant,” Morales said. She added that one must “bear in mind the best interest of the public, and to put it above one’s own if conflict arises.” Aniceto Sobrepeña, president of Metrobank Foundation, agreed with Morales and highlighted the role of the private sector as a partner in good governance. “You may ask, what is in it for the private sector if it champions governance that is effective, accountable, and upholds the rule of law? For many, the most obvious answer is that good governance creates a stable environment conducive to the pursuit of business goals. But let me add our take at the Metrobank Group – that it is simply our responsibility as citizens. We, who benefit from the freedoms afforded by a democratic society, must ensure that our countrymen enjoy similar prosperity and happiness,” he said. A joint undertaking between Metrobank Foundation and Ateneo de Manila University, the professorial chair seeks to give due recognition to public servants who are exemplary models of leadership and professionalism. It aims to strengthen the pillars of our government by furthering research and educating the citizenry on public-interest issues. Since its establishment in 2000, the title has been awarded to advocates of good governance including former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Social Work and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita “Ging” Deles. Download the highlights of the Ombudsman’s lecture here.
The 2015 Metrobank Foundation Journalists of the Year and 2016 Fellows in Journalism Howie Severino (3rd from left), Marites Vitug (4th from left), and Nancy Carvajal (5th from left) received plaques of recognition from representatives of Bicol University after the lecture held at the school. The Metrobank Foundation, Inc., (MBFI) in partnership with Probe Media Foundation, Inc. (PMFI), conducted a back-to-back lecture and media training session under its Fellowship in Journalism program on August 4 and 5, 2016 in Legazpi City.The lecture entitled 8th Metrobank Foundation Lecture Series in Journalism was held at the Amphitheater of the Bicol University. The main speakers of the lecture were the 2015 Metrobank Foundation Journalists of the Year (JOY) awardees and 2016 Fellows in Journalism Nancy Carvajal, senior reporter, formerly with the Philippine Daily Inquirer; Howie Severino, Vice President and Anchor of GMA Network; and Marites Vitug, Editor-at-Large of Rappler. Carvajal, Severino and Vitug shared their knowledge and experiences with journalism and mass communication students from the Bicol University. Their lectures focused on how their works have contributed to positive social change, and on how they practiced their respective careers in influencing and developing the public towards constructive growth. On the other hand, the Fellowship in Journalism reached out to journalists, media practitioners and public information officers in the 6th Metrobank Foundation Media Training Series entitled “Journalism and Numbers: Making Stories that Matter,” held at the Ninong’s Hotel in Legazpi City. Journalist Tess Bacalla, who is also the Training Director of the Philippine Press Institute and Lecturer at the De La Salle University, conducted a session on “Journalism and Numbers: Telling Better Stories With Data.” She discussed the need to understand numbers and be able to interpret and analyze data to be used meaningfully in media reportage. The second session, “Making Stories that Matter and Safety in Reportage,” was facilitated by 2015 JOY Awardee Nancy Carvajal. It focused on how powerful stories can contribute to positive change, but also on the need to stay alive to tell the story another day. “We are pleased that, in addition to the generous grant and recognition to the Journalists of the Year awardees, one unique component is the lecture series, which provides us an insight into their work as practicing journalists,” said broadcast journalist and PMFI president Cheche L. Lazaro. “One thing that the public does not see beyond the glamour and fame of journalists is the hard work that actually goes into crafting a story. Story-telling is at the core of our profession and today, we take pride in presenting the stories, challenges and lessons learned that Howie, Marites, and Nancy have to share with us,” Both the lecture series and media training are free of charge to attendees. The events, which are part of a series that will be brought to various areas in the Philippines, aim to advance the knowledge of practicing and aspiring journalists and uplift the journalism profession. “We are determined and committed to raising the bar of excellence in the practice of journalism in the country. Journalists are beacons of hope. They can inspire the public to actively participate more in the democratic processes through their work. They are the nation’s eyes, ears, and conscience. You cast a light in the darkness and show a way by telling the story honorably and fearlessly,” said MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña. The lecture and media training in Legazpi City is the second of the series for 2016, with the first one held at Cebu City last June 7 and 8. Succeeding sessions of lecture and training will be in Zamboanga City on August 25 and 26; Ateneo de Manila University on September 12, Cavite State University on September 29; and Ilocos Norte on October 20 and 21. The complete schedule and updates will be shared on the Facebook page @MetrobankFoundationJOY and on the websites probefound.com and mbfoundation.com.