Metrobank chairman Arthur Ty (rightmost), Quezon City 4th District Representative Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte (2nd from the right), Federal Land chairman Alfred Ty (2nd from the left), and Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña (leftmost) led the conferment of the 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos (L-R): Staff Sergeant Narding Pascual PA, Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Suderio PA, Lieutenant Colonel Ricky Bunayog PA, Jennifer Rojo, Dr. Alonzo Gabriel, Dr. Esperanza Cabrera, Edgar Elago, Police Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, Police Chief Inspector Rosalino Ibay, Jr., and Police Officer 3 Shiela May Pansoy.

On the occasion of Metrobank’s 55th anniversary celebration, Metrobank Group chairman and founder Dr. George SK Ty led the conferment of the 2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos in an awarding ceremony on September 7, 2017 at the Metrobank Plaza Auditorium in Makati City. Distinguished officials from the government, business, civil society, academe, and diplomatic community graced the event.

Ten (10) Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, consisting of 4 teachers, 3 soldiers, and 3 police officers, each received a cash incentive of Php 1 million and a trophy. Five of the ten awardees 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.

“As an annual tradition, we search for exceptional individuals who embody the best in the Filipino, those who represent our corporate values and mirror the values of our founder Dr. George Ty,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña.

“By exhibiting professionalism, creativity, and enthusiasm in their respective disciplines, these 10 awardees have redefined public service as a worthy endeavor,” Sobrepeña continued.

Delivering the response on behalf of the awardees, Lt. Col. Elmer Suderio noted that, “The most real struggle that I have ever hurdled lies in striking a balance between being a ferocious fighter and being a gentle defender.” The award, he added, “reminds me that all the hardship was worth it—because my ‘something more’ has become an inspiration to many.”

Dubbed as “Basilan’s Soldier-Trailblazer,” Suderio led a series of successful combat operations as commander of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion (3SRBn) deployed in Basilan against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists. He also worked to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) returnees after the organization signed a peace treaty pact with the government in 1998.

Dr. Esperanza Cabrera, “Manila’s Master Microbiologist,” has expanded the boundaries of scientific knowledge in the country—volunteering her expertise to transform the lives of countless students, enrich the competencies of budding and professional microbiologists, and uplift overall human conditions in places needing crucial aid. Long a pillar at the De La Salle University (DLSU), she led the institution of the BS Human Biology program and the development of well-equipped facilities in microbiology and molecular science in the university.

As City Director of the Cebu City Police Office, PSSupt. Joel Doria initiated Project POKEMON—which stands for, Pakigbatukan Og sumpoon ang Krimen ug ang Epekto sa illegal nga drugas nga Makadaut Og makaguba sa Nasud (Fight and Eradicate Crime and Illegal Drugs that are Detrimental to the Nation). POKEMON has resulted to the arrest of more than 1,700 criminals, including big-time drug traders, and the confiscation of huge cargos of contrabands worth more than P80 million.

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 Belmonte. 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 also conferred gold medallions by President Rodrigo Duterte last September 5 in a ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City. They will be presented to members of the Senate on September 11.