Historical Commission confers Gawad Rizal to Metrobank Foundation

In line with the recent celebration of 151st birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal last June 19, the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) received the distinguished sesquicentennial Gawad Rizal (Institutional Category) from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The event served as the culminating activity of “Rizal@150” which was launched a year ago by NHCP. The awarding was held right at the national hero’s birthplace in Rizal Shrine, Calamba City, Laguna which was attended by distinguished members from the government offices, local government units, academe, business, Rizal’s family descendants, and locals.

As the lone institutional awardee, MBFI was cited for itspromotion of excellence in service and performance among  professionals in the fields of  arts, education, peace and security as well as the ingenious use of bank resources in implementing relevant programs that inspire and empower Filipinos, thus, contributing to a stronger nation.

In his acceptance speech, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña expressed gratitude that comes with the award. “This award is too wonderful to claim as our own. It also belongs to the many other foundations and NGOs who are working to improve lives, empower people, uplift the dignity of men. We share this with them too and doing so, we enlarge a capacity for hope that our collective efforts will contribute to a better Philippines,” said Sobrepeña.

The award was conferred by NHCP president Maria Serena Diokno and assisted by BPI senior vice president Emmanuel Herbosa, a close descendant of Rizal. “We have an institution, the Metrobank Foundation which has been inspiring professionals from all walks of life to become modern day Rizals,” said Herbosa in his message. He commended the awardees for they have been chosen because they have proved, that like Rizal, very ordinary Filipinos can achieve extraordinary feats if one has the non-negotiable passion to work for the welfare of the country and its people.

Instrumental to the nomination of the MBFI to the Gawad Rizal was Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro, FSC who have been a consistent supporter of the advocacies of MBFI.  "Dr. Rizal's spirit lives on in the present, I have no doubt that MBFI's impact is likewise enduring. It remains to be the catalyst for nation-building beyond the confines of business interests, through its core values and programs that unleash the hero within every Filipino. Both legacies echo a lasting hope to the Philippines…It is this commitment in recognizing excellence and engaging every Filipino that has paved the way for the spirit of Rizal's ideas to remain in our midst, “expressed Luistro.

Launched during the commemoration of Rizal @150  in 2011 by NHCP, the Gawad Rizal  seeks to recognize individuals and institutions that have unassailable track record of stimulating and encouraging works toward the Rizalian concept of love of country and fulfillment of duties of Filipino citizenship; meritorious achievement, individual or institutional, in a profession that has displayed strong orientation toward service to the community and/or country at large, in light of Rizal’s teaching and way of life; or promoting and encouraging civic competence and integrity. Other recipients of the award include Dr. Paul Arvisu Dumol—a renowned playwright, historian, and educator whose works have been greatly inspired by the life and works of Rizal and a post-humous award to Cesar Climaco—a former Zamboanga City mayor who championed the rights of his people during the Martial Law, fulfilling his duties with utmost integrity, nationalism, and dedicated service.

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The Metrobank Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Metrobank Group, was established by its chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty in 1979. With the theme “Excel. Engage. Empower.” the Foundation has promoted a culture of excellence among Filipinos through its various programs, such as the Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT), the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), the Search for The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS), the Search for the Country’s Outstanding Policemen in Service (COPS), the Metrobank Math Challenge (MMC), College Scholarship Program (CSP) and Excellence in Judiciary Program (EJP). It also supports social development projects through like-minded organizations that have sought to uplift the lives of the disadvantaged groups and marginalized sectors in the society. “Converging to Inspire Change!” serves as the battlecry of the Foundation. After 33 years, it shall continue to uphold values of excellence and champion its chosen stakeholders and the rest of our communities. It aims to strength ties with institutional partners in both public and private sectors such that there will always be a venue to further honor those who are able to reach their highest potential. Today, the Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to remain a leader in corporate social responsibility by initiating and supporting leading edge programs that uplift the lives of our people and inspire the best in the Filipinos.