The 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos (from left top row): Jennifer Rojo, Dr. Esperanza Cabrera, Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, Edgar Elago, (from left bottom row) Staff Sergeant Narding Pascual PA, Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Suderio PA, Lieutenant Colonel Ricky Bunayog PA, Police Chief Inspector Rosalino Ibay, Jr., Police Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, and Police Officer 3 Shiela May Pansoy.

The Senate of the Philippines honored this year’s Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos—consisting of 4 teachers, 3 soldiers, and 3 police officers—in a plenary session held last September 6, 2017. The 17th Congress passed a resolution to commend the achievements of the awardees. Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chairperson of the Final Board of Judges and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III led the ceremonies.

The Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos is a career-service award for Filipino exemplars in the academe, military, and police sectors. Five (5) of the awardees this year come from the Mindanao region.

Guided by the theme “Beyond Excellence”, a Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino is recognized for rendering service above and beyond his/her call of duty. His/her accomplishments must have inspired and influenced their peers as well as the people in their respective communities. Their works must have transformed a community with a lasting positive impact on people and to the country.

Teacher awardees are: (1) Jennifer Rojo of Neogan Elementary School (Tagaytay City); (2) Edgar Elago of Magallanes National High School (Magallanes, Agusan del Norte); (3) Dr. Esperanza Cabrera of De La Salle University (City of Manila); and (4) Dr. Alonzo Gabriel of the University of the Philippines-Diliman (Quezon City).

Soldier awardees, on the other hand are: (5) Staff Sergeant Narding Pascual PA of the 26th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army (Talacogon, Agusan del Sur); (6) Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Suderio PA of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army (Labangan, Zamboanga Del Sur); and (7) Lieutenant Colonel Ricky Bunayog PA of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army (Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao).

Police officer awardees are: (8) Police Officer 3 Shiela May Pansoy of Digos City Police Station (Digos City, Davao del Sur); (9) Police Chief Inspector Rosalino Ibay, Jr. of the Manila Police District (City of Manila); and (10) Police Senior Superintendent Joel Doria of Cebu City Police Office.

“I am pleased to present our Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, the everyday heroes of our nation who remind us that the pursuit of excellence goes beyond the self. It is their quiet, unsung, but impactful contributions that bring out the best in our nation,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. “We are grateful to the members of the Senate for consistently offering their generous support in recognizing our exemplary public servants,” he added.

Delivering a message on behalf of the awardees, Dr. Alonzo Gabriel noted that “more significant and impactful change comes from collaborated efforts of people who share the same dreams and aspirations.” He added, “Excellence without honor is unacceptable; excellence is meaningless if people do not benefit from it. Service to my people should only be of excellent quality and through honorable means.”

Dubbed as “Diliman’s Food Security Advocate,” Gabriel led the establishment of the country’s only Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Hygiene based at UP’s College of Home Economics. Outside the university, Dr. Gabriel was one of three technical writers—convened by the Department of Agriculture and the United States Food and Drug Administration—who authored the Philippine National Food Defense Standard in 2011.

SSgt. Narding Pascual, “Caraga’s Lumad Hero,” has spearheaded a series of engagements against communist rebels in Mindanao. A native of the Banwaon tribe, he led several community development projects which have benefited Indigenous Peoples (IPs). Among these projects are the construction of a two-classroom primary school building, a livelihood project in the form of a falcata tree plantation covering four hectares in the town, and the rural electrification project in Sitio Km. 24 in Mahagsay, San Luis.

PCI Rosalino Ibay, Jr., “Manila Police District’s Finest Officer,” led numerous operations against the most notorious crimes in Tondo, including cases of murder and human trafficking. He was also instrumental in the resolution of unprecedented carnapping cases in Manila. He is the author of the Barangay Management System (BMS), a computerized records storage system which systematizes the profiles of all barangay residents for easy reference.

The awardees were chosen by the distinguished members of the Final Board of Judges chaired by Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and co-chaired by Quezon City 4th District representative Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr.. The other members include: Court of Appeals Associate Justice Magdangal De Leon, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Manila Electric Company president and CEO Oscar Reyes, Asian Institute of Management president and dean Dr. Jikyeong Kang, Palo Archbishop John Du, and GMA Network senior vice president for radio Miguel “Mike” Enriquez.

The 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos were conferred gold medallions by President Rodrigo Duterte last September 5 in a ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City. They were also awarded with a cash incentive of Php 1 million each and the “Flame” trophy last September 7 at the Metrobank Plaza Auditorium.