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Metrobank awardee wants memorial for fallen comrades

The 2017 Metrobank Outstanding Filipino awardees from the armed forces, education and police are shown with Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobripeña (6th from left). Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — What would you do if you received P1 million as a reward for your contribution to nation-building?

For one of the awardees of the 2017 Outstanding Filipino awards of the Metrobank Foundation, he intends to use it to build a memorial for his fellow soldiers slain in Marawi.

“For me, this achievement is not about me. We represent the people on the ground who are fighting for us,” Lt. Col. Elmer Suderio said during the announcement of the roster of Metrobank’s Outstanding Filipinos for 2017.

“I am planning to construct a memorial to pay tribute to our heroes who died in Marawi,” he added.


At least 140 soldiers had perished in the ongoing conflict in Marawi City as of Aug. 31.

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Suderio, one of three soldiers named among this year’s 10 Outstanding Filipinos, said the real heroes that should be honored are those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for the country.

According to Metrobank Foundation, Suderio – currently operations officer of the Joint Task Force Marawi – was chosen for the award for coming up with a subject at the Philippine Military Academy that trains soldiers on handling administrative tasks.

He also initiated a livelihood program for returnees of the Moro National Liberation Front to help bridge the gap between the military and the community.

While awardees are free to spend their P1-million reward for themselves and their families, all 10 of them said a portion of the money will be used to support and continue programs that placed them on the outstanding Filipinos’ list this year.

Aside from Suderio, also receiving the award from the military are Staff Sgt. Nanding Pascual of the 26th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Agusan del Sur and Lt. Col. Ricky Bunayog of the 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao.

A member of the Banwaon tribe, Pascual was instrumental in the construction of a school building and electrification of a far-flung community in his province. He also initiated a livelihood project for members of indigenous peoples communities.

On the other hand, Bunayog was feted for initiating non-combat initiatives to resolve blood feuds and facilitating the construction of two Madrasah buildings and the repair of a school in Maguindanao.

Meanwhile, educators receiving the award are Jennifer Rojo of the Neogan Elementary School in Tagaytay City, Edgar Elago of the Magallanes National High School in Agusan del Norte, Esperanza Cabrera of the De La Salle University, and Alonzo Gabriel of the University of the Philippines.

Rojo was recognized for her contribution in the development of various learning initiatives, such as a compilation of scientific vocabulary worksheets in the form of puzzles and games, and the Mobile Sci-Hub/Lab that simplifies scientific concepts into visuals.

Elago was cited for authoring a comprehensive action research on cultural awareness, and initiating initiatives to support scholars who come from financially challenged households; while Cabrera will receive the award for her accomplishments in the field of microbiology, including the establishment of facilities for budding and practicing microbiologists.

An advocate of food security, Alonzo was recognized for leading the establishment of the country’s only laboratory of food microbiology and hygiene. He also developed teaching materials to bring the issue of food security to the grassroots level.

Also awarded were Police Officer 3 Sheila May Pansoy of the Digos City Police Station, Chief Inspector Rosalino Ibay Jr. of the Manila Police District, and Senior Superintendent Joel Doria of the Cebu City Police Office.

Pansoy was recognized for initiating a quick response program for abused children and women; while Ibay was cited for his efforts to address criminality, including the launching of a digital platform for stolen vehicles and the founding of a non-government organization doing humanitarian projects for the residents.

Doria was cited for his anti-criminality crusade through a program creatively called POKEMON (Pakigbatukan Og sumpoon and Krien ug ang Epekto sa ilegal nga Makadaut Og makaguba sa Nasud/Fight and Eradicate Crime and Illegal Activities that are Detrimental to the Nation).

Metrobank Group chairman and founder Dr. George S.K. Ty led the conferment ceremonies at the Metrobank Plaza Auditorium in Makati City last Sept. 7.

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