Marcos fetes Metrobank Foundation’s 10 ‘Outstanding Filipinos’
President Marcos on Thursday honored 10 outstanding Filipinos who have “gone above and beyond” in their service to the nation.
Among these exemplary individuals was Bukidnon-based teacher Rex Sario, who created a modified radio-based instruction that ensured learning was not disrupted during the pandemic even in the most remote communities.
Sario was dubbed “Bukidnon’s Icon for Transformative Education in the Modern Age.”
For his work, he became one of the 10 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos for 2023—composed of four teachers, three soldiers, and three police officers—who received the Medallion of Excellence from Mr. Marcos in a ceremony in Malacañang.
Other Metrobank awardees were teachers June Elias, Edgar Durana Patalinhug and Jovelyn Delosa.
The soldier awardees were Col. Joseph Dator and Staff Sgt. Danilo Banquiao of the Philippine Army, and Lt. Col. Joseph Bitancur of the Philippine Air Force.
Also awarded were Police Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Bendo, Police Maj. Mae Ann Cunanan and Police Col. Renell R. Sabaldica.
Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña hoped the awardees would inspire others to embody excellence and become a beacon of hope.
“May the Medallion of Excellence be a reminder that excellence does not stop at awards. May the 10 of you inspire your fellow comrades, create ripples of change, and become source of hope,” Sobrepeña said.
No ‘damaged culture’
In his speech, the President belied that the Philippines has “a damaged culture.”
“We are not a damaged culture. I hate that. We are a great people and you are the example of that greatness,” Mr. Marcos stressed.
“Through you, we honor Filipinos, and we remind our countrymen this is what a Filipino is,” he told the teachers, soldiers and police awardees.
In 1987, The Atlantic’s Asia correspondent James Fallows wrote a commentary about the Philippines as a “damaged culture,” calling it “a nation not only without nationalism but also without much national pride.”
His commentary came a year after the Marcos family fled the Philippines following the Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled the dictatorship and restored democracy in the country.
Pushing the limits
Mr. Marcos said the awardees “have passionately pushed the limits of what and how public service should be.”
“So, the excellence that you have demonstrated in your pursuits is, truly, worth emulating,” he said.
“What you have unleashed is a transformative force that creates ripples of positive transformation in the communities that you serve and beyond,” he added.
He told the awardees that “you have taken the extra mile” and “climbed that steeper mountain.”
“And this is beyond the, shall we say, the job description that was given you. And you have gone far beyond that. And it is because you have taken on this profession, not as a job, not as a duty, but as a vocation,” he said.
According to Marcos, “we need to remind our people” of the greatness of Filipinos because some of them feel inferior despite Filipinos being admired abroad.
“Just look at Filipinos when they go to other countries, especially during the pandemic, we are celebrated because of the quality of work of Filipinos,” he said.